The Monkey Gland Cocktail Recipe

Posted in Gin on March 4, 2014

This cocktail definitely does not have an appealing name. The history behind it is not very attractive either, but you should focus on the ingredients rather than on the name and on what inspired it. You might not want to know this story, so skip this part if you are sensitive and go straight to ingredient list. The Monkey Gland was first prepared in the 20s by Henry MacElhone at a New York Bar in Paris. He named is creation after the surgery performed by a reputable Russian doctor who attempted to increase lifespan and to delay aging by transplanting monkey testicles to humans. We will never know if MacElhone liked the name or used it in order to emphasize the revitalizing properties of its drink.


The Monkey Gland is a gin based cocktail which also contains grenadine and absinthe. It has fallen out of fashion lately and most bartenders will have no idea what you are talking about if you ask for one. However, the recipe does not deserve to be completely forgotten because it indeed has a certain charm. Ignore the name and prepare it at home. You will definitely not regret.


Absinthe is an essential ingredient in the Monkey Gland. While it was forbidden in the United States, bartenders used Benedictine to replace it. It worked pretty well, but absinthe works even better. Some people prefer to simply add a splash of absinthe, but a wonderful aroma is obtained if you use this liquor for coating the cocktail glass. Simply swirl it in the glass until the walls are covered and then throw away the excess. You’ll obtain a nice and fruity cocktail with a subtle anise flavor to it. Made this way, it is simple irresistible.


How to Prepare the Monkey Gland


Since you’ll probably have a hard time in finding a bartender to make it for you, the surest solution to enjoy the Monkey Gland is to make it yourself.


You need the following ingredients:


  • 2 oz. of gin.
  • 1 oz. of orange juice.
  • ¼ oz. of grenadine.
  • A splash of absinthe.
  • An orange slice for garnish.


Put the splash of absinthe into a chilled cocktail glass and coat its interior with it. Throw away any excess absinthe. Put the gin, the orange juice and the grenadine into a shaker with ice and shake them well. Strain the drink into the coated glass and garnish it with an orange slice.


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