The first thing you’ll notice about Monkey Face Vodka is the label. This Northern California vodka produced by Almendra Winery and Distillery, which is sadly only available around the Chico, CA area, is emblazoned with a steam-punk monkey that is meant to harken back to the local rock formation the vodka is named after. I’m a big fan of California’s hikes, but I’m an even bigger fan of California’s vodkas. I’ve been looking forward to this vodka.
Monkey Face Vodka is incredible. The mouthfeel is velvety and as comfortable as water. It’s the sweet flavor that really draws me in, and it’s followed by a completely smooth swallow. This isn’t a vodka that you have to chill to enjoy, either. This vodka holds up at room temperature as well as as it does chilled. It may actually be better without the chill.
Monkey Face Vodka is an exceptional spirit that even a novice vodka enthusiast will enjoy. Monkey Face Vodka is one of the rare sipping vodkas I’ve encountered. If you like straight vodka, Monkey Face ought to be on your short list.
Like every good sipping vodka, I had a hard time with mixing. I prefer vodka straight and it’s a shame to put a vodka as good as Monkey Face into mixed drink. So, I’ll fess up. I didn’t go all-in on making cocktails because I was too busy enjoying this vodka straight, but I did try a few things.
I started with a screwdriver, naturally. The vodka dials up the sweetness of the orange juice and makes for a great and simple cocktail. If you happen to have an orange tree in your back yard, some fresh OJ would make for a great drink for soaking up some sun.
An easy next step with a screwdriver is to toss in some cranberry juice to make a madras. As you may imagine, this was also great. The vodka took the tartness of the cranberry down a peg while still highlighting the sweetness of the orange juice, which is exactly the way I like a madras.
Mixing the vodka with straight cranberry was great as well, much to my surprise. Cranberry and vodka is not something I drink often because I don’t enjoy the tartness, but Monkey Face still manages to knock down the tartness despite the increased ratio of the juice.
I tried it in a few other mixers I had on hand, and they all turned out great. I think it’s safe to say, if you like a vodka cocktail, you’ll like it better with Monkey Face vodka in it.
I’ve had a few new Californian vodkas recently, and they’ve all been great. Competition is fierce, but Monkey Face Vodka stands tall among them. Monkey Face Vodka is best straight, but if you need to mix it, treat it right with fresh ingredients because it deserves it. My only regret as I poured the last of the bottle into my glass is that the nearest retailer is a few thousand miles away.