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Batch CCCXXVI. Schwarzwald, Thursday November 23, 2017 NO. 47
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The Gibson Diaries

The Gibson Diaries
Part #1 – The National Mixographic Society

By now, you should have heard about the National Mixographic Society, right? Founded for the “increase and diffusion” of sophisticated drinking culture, the National Mixographic Society unites a diverse group of enthusiasts and connoisseurs sharing an almost scientific interest in nothing less than a great drink!

The Gibson Diaries
Part #2 – The Gibson Challenge and a Little....Guess Who?

The Gibson Diaries – Admittedly, by creating Monkey 47, we’ve already made a significant contribution to the reign of the silent king of cocktails – but our unquenchable curiosity for botanicals still drives us to improve what by common standard cannot be improved. We’re Distillers and by no means Cocktail gurus, so we had to challenge no one else than Alex Kratena to achieve what’s believed to be virtually impossible, hence pushing the master behind bars to his very boundaries of what’s even sensorially feasible. The result: 47 adventurous infusions giving our Gibson a true splash of wunderbarness. Anyhow, embark with us on a misson and follow our Expedition Team on the hunt for the ultimate Gibson. Welcome to The Monkey 47 Gibson Diaries.

The Gibson Diaries
Part #3 – The Gibson I

The exact origin of the Gibson is unclear, with numerous popular tales and theories about its genesis. According to one popular theory, Charles Dana Gibson is responsible for the creation of the Gibson, when he supposedly challenged Charley Connolly, the bartender of the players club in New York city, to improve upon the martini's recipe, so Connolly simply substituted an onion for the olive and named the drink after the patron. Well anyhow, the Gibson is a cocktail made with Gin and Vermouth, and garnished with a pickled onion simply just to feed the Monkey, which is totally fine with us.

The Gibson Diaries
Part #4 – Members of the Expedition - Alexander Kratena

Being the only man on the planet Chuck Norris would fear to meet behind bars, Alex Kratena has truely reinvented the traditional five-star hotel bar experience on a global scale. As the mastermind behind the Artesian, at The Langham, London, Alex has led the bar and his team to be recognised as World´s Best Bar for four consecutive years, awarded by Drinks International. But most importantly, he’s a very nice and humble person. Thank you for that!

The Gibson Diaries
Part #5 – It´s All About Details

It’s all about the details.....Remember, the Gibson is a cocktail made with Gin and Vermouth, and garnished with a pickled onion? Whether to feed to the Monkey or not – a cocktail can only be as good as its ingredients. So, one shouldn’t underestimate the onion, as we say in the Black Forest, which is why we’ve invited an onion expert to become a member of the National Mixographic Society – Gerhard Daumüller. His simple task? Growing the one and only Funky Monkey Schwarzwald Genuine Pickled Onions. Bring it on, Gerhard!

The Gibson Diaries
Part #6 – Members of the Expedition - Gerhard Daumüller

Our truly unique onion expert resides on the wonderful Filder Plain, at the foot of the Swabian Jura. It was once the home of the famous “Filderkraut” cabbage, and where back in 1999, Gerhard became the first salad grower to bring his products to the market in baby leaf quality, sparking a taste revolution in sophisticated gastronomy. When he’s not busy working with wild herbs, leaf salads and edible flowers, Gerhard is also cultivating a special Gibson-friendly pickled onion (Allium ampeloprasum) exclusively for us – the “Stuttgarter Stubel”.

The Gibson Diaries
Part #7 – The Art of Inspiration

Every artist needs inspiration and, of course, to do a little bit of work. We look at the world’s most experienced lemon carrier and bee observer in action.

The Gibson Diaries
Part #8 – Onion Obsessions I

As the saying goes: “Wie man den Acker bestellt, so trägt er” (You reap what you sow). After a short test phase and talking to a few renowned local onion cultivators, industrious onion expert Gerhard decided on the perfect seeds to use. Unlike the silverskin onion, which belongs to the onion botanical family (Alliaceae), the “Stuttgarter Stubel” is actually a member of the leek family (Allioideae). It grows to a diameter of 15 to 35 millimetres and its gleaming outer skin is white to silver. In terms of taste, the “Stubel” has a pleasant, harmonious sourness with a mild hint of spice.

The Gibson Diaries
Part #9 – Onion Obsessions II

While Alex Kratena lets himself be “inspired” at the Schaberhof, our onion expert Gerhard turns out to be a kind of Trojan horse, with nothing but hard labour on his mind. 800 seeds per square metre need to be sown across 1,500 square metres of soil. Blessed is he who can drive the tractor!

The Gibson Diaries
Part #10 – Monkey’s Kitchen

Inside Mr Kratena’s lab, the creative juices are really flowing. Besides infusions of saffron, hibiscus, kola nuts, purple shamrock, Monarda didyma and Sansho, our createur of the “Splash of Wunderbarness” knew how to surprise with his very own extravagant infusions. Care for an example? How about Colman’s Mustard, jellyfish, haggis, marshmallow and fermented Époisses cheese for starters?

The Gibson Diaries
Part #11 – Funky Monkey Brine or Brew

Our Funky Monkey Schwarzwald Genuine Pickled Onions are freshly harvested silverskin onions that are seasoned and pasteurised in a boiled, seasoned brew of vinegar and herbs. The blend of spices in our brew contains a vinegar created specially for us, along with a host of our Monkey 47 botanicals such as Abelmoschus, grains of paradise and juniper. Brace yourselves...

The Gibson Diaries
Part #12 – Members of the Expedition - Theo Berl

Our quest to find the mother of all vinegar led us to the edge of the Black Forest. Near the French border, Theo Berl runs Germany’s first ever vinegar brewery, now in its fourth generation. On the path to the Rhine river, his great grandfather, Friedrich Berl, originally founded a farm with an inn next door. As was customary at the time, the food itself was home-grown and processed directly for own consumption and for guests. There was everything from tobacco to sauerkraut and vegetable preserves, and even an apple plantation for own must production. In large, oval-shaped wooden vats and barrels, the fruit vinegar was extracted from the apple must in a natural, traditional way, directly from the well cared for “mother of vinegar”. These vinegars and balsamics were then used to pickle or spice the home-made sauerkraut, and were even used directly in the restaurant.

The Gibson Diaries
Part #13 – The Mother of Essig

Vinegar preparation is one of mankind’s oldest food production processes. Vinegar (Latin: acetum) is a sour-tasting condiment and preservative that is produced through fermentation of alcoholic liquids with acetic acid bacteria known as the “mother of vinegar”. Following the long-standing artisan tradition, Theo produces vinegar through diffusion in wooden barrels, referred to as a “decelerated process”, which involves extracting the valuable biological acetic acid exclusively from the nutrients of finished musts. As a result, the starting liquid is injected with specially cultivated bacteria. After a while, a biofilm of alcohol-consuming bacteria called the mother of vinegar starts to form. In this way, the alcoholic starting product is slowly converted into the oxidation product, namely vinegar. Once all of the alcohol has turned into acetic acid, the vinegar below the film is carefully drained and then left to mature in the wooden barrels. This allowed the apple balsamic for the Funky Monkey Schwarzwald Genuine Pickled Onions to mature for a whole 640 days in Limousin oak barrels.

The Gibson Diaries
Part #14 – Onion Obssessions III

Meanwhile, on the Filder Plain...

The Gibson Diaries
Part #15 – The Big Mac incident

Inspiration at its best…..

The Gibson Diaries
Part #16 – The Big Fat Onion Harvest

The Gibson Diaries
Part #17 – The Grande Spectacle – our Gibson Diaries on BCB

The expedition culminates at the BCB.
Everything comes together:
The Infusion Cabinet.
The perfect Gibson.
The one and only Funky Monkey Schwarzwald Genuine Pickled Onions.

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