Of all the drinks in the world, the monkey gland can quickly become a favorite. It's a little tricky, but if you get the balance of flavor right, this classic cocktail with a sordid history that explains its unusual name is phenomenal!
The sweetened combination of gin, orange juice, and grenadine makes a really nice drink. It's only with the hint of absinthe that the drink becomes truly interesting. Most recipes for the monkey gland suggest a splash of absinthe or one of its many substitutes, but there's something to the subtlety of rinsing the glass. This creates a nice, fruity cocktail with the slightest taste of anise as a contrast and the aroma itself is intoxicating and delightful.
Gather the ingredients.
Swirl a dash of absinthe in a chilled cocktail glass to coat it, then dump out any excess liqueur.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes, pour the gin, orange juice, and grenadine.
Strain into the prepared glass.
Garnish with an orange slice or a burnt orange peel.
Serve and enjoy!
The Story of the Monkey Gland
The monkey gland is not the typical drink name and its origin is, well, interesting to say the least.
In his 1922 "Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails" book, Harry McElhone (owner of Harry's New York Bar in Paris) took credit for the invention of the monkey gland. He also claims that the name was inspired by the 1920s experiments of one Serge Voronoff.
This was well before the time of Viagra and it's many male enhancement counterparts and Voronoff was experimenting with various implants. The most famous of these was the grafting of monkey testicle tissue (or monkey glands) to human testicles.
Voronoff became well-known for this rather shocking technique. Over time, he received a considerable amount of ridicule for it as well. He died in near obscurity in the 1950s.
So, there's the story behind the drink. If nothing else it's great trivia while you're sharing a round of monkey glands with friends!
- During the time that absinthe was illegal in the U.S., many bartenders learned to make this drink with Benedictine. While this is also a worthy libation, it has an entirely different profile.
How Strong Is a Monkey Gland?
Though absinthe is a high-proof spirit, the dash needed to rinse the glass is not significant enough to make the monkey gland a terribly strong drink. It's not a lightweight either, though! On average, this cocktail's alcohol content should fall somewhere around 22 percent ABV (44 proof). That's about the same as a cosmopolitan, though this drink promises to be a lot more fun!