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Remix: The Monkey Gland 

We promise: This Jazz Age cocktail tastes better than it sounds

  • photo by Jessica Bryce Young

Hey there, lovebirds! You probably want a cocktail that’ll really get things revving in the bedroom, right? Just kidding: Sophisticated readers like you know that’s a ridiculous notion – the more cocktails you imbibe, the less revving is likely.

Another ridiculous notion is having chopped-up monkey balls surgically implanted in your own testicles, but that horrifying practice is exactly what this drink is named for. The Monkey Gland cocktail, first recorded in Harry MacElhone’s 1927 recipe guide, Barflies and Cocktails, memorializes the surgical specialty of one Serge Voronoff, a Russian doctor who speculated that grafting monkey huevos onto the corresponding human bits would slow the aging process and cure, ahem, bedroom problems. Let it never be said that Jazz Age bartenders didn’t have a grim sense of humor.

With such a colorful name (and such a graphic backstory), it’s a little surprising how humdrum the drink itself is: equal parts gin and orange juice, pinked up with grenadine – a revolting substance – and served in an absinthe-washed glass. Since absinthe was outlawed in the U.S. shortly after the drink’s genesis, bartenders substituted Bénédictine, an herbal liqueur that, frankly, works much better in the drink. This Remix of the Monkey Gland is more complex, but I think you’ll find it’s a much more enjoyable experience. Toast each other with one (or maybe two). If you’re not toasting a beloved, it goes down just as sweet with friends old or new.


2 ounces gin

2 ounces orange juice

1/4 ounce grenadine

dash of absinthe

Swirl the absinthe in a chilled glass to coat the sides, then dump any excess. Pour the gin, orange juice and grenadine into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well, then strain into the glass.


2 ounces gin

2 ounces fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/2 ounce Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

1/2 ounce Hum Botanical Spirit

2 ounces cava or prosecco

8 drops blood orange bitters

dash of Bénédictine

Swirl the Bénédictine in a coupe glass to coat the sides, then dump any excess. Pour the juice, gin, Hum and Luxardo into a shaker with ice, shake well, and strain into the glass. Top off with sparkling wine. Add bitters (do not stir) and serve.


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