Whisky seems to be no longer the prerogative of the Scottish Highlands. In recent years, more and more distilleries have discovered that, after turning grains into Schnaps for over 500 years, they might as well go one step further. Since the turn of the millennium, small German distilleries have sprung up from Baden to the Spreewald, inventing their own recipes that are boasting a variety that eclipses even the Scottish professionals. Such a one is Johannes Müller-Herold – always open for new ideas, his creations reflect what the landscape around him has to offer. Johannes is a 10th generation distiller and has trained in kitchens all around the world for 26 years to become a master chef. 

He took over the family distillery that was founded in 1645 and modernised it to the highest technical standards. Staying true to his ancestors, he only uses ripe, healthy and aromatic fruits, preferably from organic orchards, uses them with the greatest care and adds Ödsbacher mountain spring water to make the brandies drinkable. He then stores them in stone casks until they have reached a perfect and distinct aroma. 

One of his oak barrel matured distilling products is the Alemannic Highland Whisky called “a Freud” (a delight), now part of the personal range of house specialities. The basis is a distillate made of organic emmer – authentic native wheat – blended with a hint of beer brandy. “Emmer isn’t used by anyone else,” Johannes says proudly. “The grain gets its great nutty taste because it is distilled in an alembic pot, which is designed (made) for fruit Schnaps to enhance the flavour.”

For the first year, the young whisky is stored in a strongly toasted – meaning burnt with fire on the inside – oak barrel, before it is transferred to a fine-pored, only slightly toasted barrel. While other producers transfer their whiskies into disused sherry or port wine barrels for purposes of enhancing the aromas, Johannes uses those that previously housed uncommon (rare) Baden red dessert wines. After three years and one day he will decant the golden liquid into handsome bottles and the delight (“a Freud”) is ready to be enjoyed. 

For more information visit: www.brennerei-gb.de

Chocolate Whisky muffin with baked pear 

Serves 4


4 ripe pears

100ml cream

150g dark chocolate

½ tablespoon butter

Shot of Whisky

For the muffin

200g flour

100g sugar

1 packet vanilla sugar

2 tsp baking powder

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

½ tsp soda salt

4 tablespoons soft butter

150ml milk

2 eggs

80g grated dark chocolate


Peel and core the pears. Boil cream, stir in dark chocolate and butter until creamy, add Whisky to taste and place in refrigerator.

For the muffin

Mix flour, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, cocoa powder and soda salt in a bowl. Mix milk, melted butter and eggs. Combine the two mixtures and fold in grated chocolate. Pour into buttered and sugared heat-proof moulds half-full. Fill the pear with the Whisky mixture and sink into chocolate mixture form. Bake at 180°C, middle shelf, 20-25min. Let it rest for 3min. To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with fruit sauce.