astounding facts about monkey gland ef4d9a4d

16 Astounding Facts About Monkey Gland Cocktail 

Spread the love


The Monkey Gland is a classic cocktail with an unusual history behind its curious name. This sweet and sour mixed drink likely originated in the 1920s and contains gin, orange juice, grenadine, and absinthe or Pernod.

While the Monkey Gland may not be a common cocktail you’ll find in your average bar today, it still has a cult following among mixologists and cocktail aficionados who enjoy its unique blend of flavors. Read on to learn more about the background, ingredients, and recipes for the Monkey Gland cocktail.

History & Origins of the Name

The Monkey Gland cocktail first emerged in Paris, France in the 1920s. The exact origin is unclear, but the most repeated story credits bartender Harry MacElhone from the New York Bar in Paris as the creator.

As for the strange name, there are a few theories behind the meaning:

  • Some say it refers to the sweet yet sour flavor profile which mimics a monkey’s temperament
  • In the 1920s, a Russian doctor named Serge Voronoff gained fame for his experiments grafting monkey testicle tissue onto men as an anti-aging technique. The cocktail may have been named in a nod to this unusual practice.
  • The red color resembles a monkey’s red bottom.

Whatever the real story behind the name, the Monkey Gland became a representative cocktail of the 1920s-era fascination with exotic ingredients and experimentation. The combination of fruit juices like orange and grenadine with liquor like gin and absinthe encapsulated the creativity of the time.

Ingredients & Preparation

The Monkey Gland cocktail recipe calls for just a few key ingredients:

  • Gin: The base spirit providing the primary flavor
  • Orange juice: Adds sweetness and acidity
  • Grenadine: Contributes body, sweetness, and red hue
  • Absinthe or Pernod: Provides an anise flavor

Here is the essential recipe:

Gin2 oz
Orange juice1 oz
Grenadine1 tsp
Absinthe/Pernod1 tsp

To make a Monkey Gland cocktail:

  • Fill a shaker with ice
  • Add all ingredients
  • Shake vigorously until chilled
  • Strain into a chilled coupe glass
  • Garnish with an orange twist

The drink can also be served over ice in an old fashioned glass. Some modern versions add lemon juice as well.

Flavor Profile & Tasting Notes

The Monkey Gland is most noted for its sweet yet tart flavor resulting from the grenadine and citrus juices. The anise component from the absinthe or Pernod adds a light licorice taste on the finish.

When sipped, you’ll notice:

  • Sweetness upfront from the grenadine paired with the orange juice
  • Tartness from citric acid to cut through the sugar
  • Slight spiciness on the end from the absinthe
  • Smooth and silky mouthfeel from the viscosity of the grenadine

The gin provides a crisp, botanical backbone to balance the sweet fruity flavors. The drink is refreshing yet rich.

Modern Variations

While the original Monkey Gland recipe remains a classic, some modern mixologists have put creative spins on the concoction:

  • Using different base spirits like vodka or tequila
  • Adding extra citrus such as lemon or grapefruit juice
  • Swapping out components like elderflower liqueur instead of grenadine
  • Serving it as a highball drink topped with soda water
  • Garnishing with extra fruit like orange wedges or brandied cherries

The basic template of the Monkey Gland allows for intriguing riffs that put new twists on the sweet-tart flavor profile.

Where to Enjoy a Monkey Gland Cocktail

Since it requires more obscure ingredients like absinthe and grenadine, the Monkey Gland isn’t ubiquitous on everyday bar menus. But you can track it down in certain locations:

  • Classic cocktail bars focusing on vintage mixed drinks
  • French bistros offering Parisian cafe culture
  • Absinthe-focused bars that stock anise liqueurs
  • Tiki bars or Polynesian restaurants playing up the exotic factor
  • Home bars of hobby mixologists who have the necessary components

Finding an authentic Monkey Gland may take some effort, but this cult classic remains a favorite for adventurous cocktail explorers.


The Monkey Gland cocktail has come a long way from its origins in a 1920s Parisian bar. While its unusual name may raise eyebrows, the drink’s signature balance of sweet citrus and anise flavors has staying power.

This blast from the past offers a unique experience for daring drinkers. The combination of gin, grenadine, juice and absinthe creates a sweet-tart flavor journey that intrigues contemporary palates just as it did nearly a century ago. Tracking down the components and trying this vintage cocktail is a must for mixology fans.

Spread the love

Similar Posts