Monkey Gland Cocktail

The present day cannot lay claim to all that is outrageous and downright strange. Back in the day, men used to attempt amazingly misguided, ill informed shenanigans with the goal of increasing their virility and longevity; like taking monkey testicles and implanting or grafting them in to their own bodies. Thus, the Monkey Gland cocktail was created by Frank Meier, of the Ritz Hotel Paris (April, 1923). It is delicious. Promise.


2 oz Beefeater 24 Gin

1 oz orange juice

1/4 oz grenadine

dash Absinthe


shake with ice

strain into a cocktail glass

garnish with an orange twist


Kennedy 26 Apr 2011
9:13 am

May I ask, what type of grenadine you are using in this video Robert? It was unfamiliar to me. Also, where did you pick it up? Thanks for the continued good work. I have discovered and enjoyed many a cocktail thanks to your series. Drink well.

George R. Welch 26 Apr 2011
9:26 am

Robert you continue to awe and inspire us with your knowledge and stories.  I have to admit I’ve never made one of these, purely due to the name.  Now I can’t wait to try it.

I don’t want to buy you a drink.  I want to MAKE you a drink, because then whether you like it or not I’d still learn something!


PS:  Beefeater 24 is now on the shelves in Dallas, and I’ve successfully ordered it here!  Life is good.

Robert Hess 26 Apr 2011
9:44 am

Kennedy, I’m using “Angostura” brand grenadine here. It’s a pretty good product, I ran across it at a local store a while back. Grenadine is one of those products which doesn’t see a lot of use, but I always recommend checking out a variety of brands to see which ones you like. I often make my own by just simmering pomegrante seeds in simple syrup for about half an hour or so.

Benjamin D. 26 Apr 2011
10:45 am

Robert, I noticed a discrepancy on the place of origin and creator of this drink. The side bar description says it was created at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris (which I ran across before—except, eh, I think on their website) but in the program you said it was created at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. I suppose it doesn’t matter much in the end but being a history buff as well as a cocktail geek, I like to give credit where credit is due. So, which one is more plausible?

Robert Hess 26 Apr 2011
10:58 am

Benjamin, many (but not all) references point to Frank Meier, of the Ritz Hotel Paris (April, 1923) as being the source of the Monkey Gland although others attribute it to Harry MacElhone (of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris).

Robert Hess 26 Apr 2011
11:08 am

And the “source” for the origin of the drink that I’m using in the video is the newspaper clipping that Darcy includes in his article about the Monkey Gland here:

The article reads:
“New Cocktail in Paris Is the Monkey Gland”
(Special Cable Dispatch)
Paris, April 28 - Preparing for a busy tourist season, Frank, the noted concocter behind the bar of the Ritz, has devised a new series off powerful cocktails, favorite of which is known as the “monkey gland.”
Like Frank’s “soixante quinze” gloom raiser, the “monkey gland” requires absinthe to be perfect, but its amateurs have found anise a substitute with a sufficient kick.
For the benefit of friends over in America who have not exhausted their cellars here is the recipe: Half and half gin and orange juice, a dash of absinthe, and a dash of raspberry or other sweet juice. Mix well with ice, and serve only with a doctor handy. Inside of half an hour the other day Frank purveyed 40 of thesem to the exclusion of manhattans and martinis.

Benjamin D. 26 Apr 2011
11:31 am

Cool! Thanks Robert! It’s that kind of detail and research I like about you.

Kennedy 27 Apr 2011
3:28 am

Thanks Robert. My wife makes homemade grenadine also, but I was curious. I agree with you about checking out different brands, it’s a good way to be pleasantly surprised. And no, grenadine certainly doesn’t get a lot of use at our place either. Cheers :)

Nick L. 28 Apr 2011
1:45 pm

I prefer to make my own as well.  Homemade grenadine is something that just can’t be matched by commercial varieties.  I make it similar to the way that I do my rich simple syrup (although which fresh pressed pomegranate juice instead of water), and then I add some other ingredients to give it something a little “extra.”  Pomegranate molasses, orange flower water, orange zest, and some vodka for preservative all eventually find their way into the mixture.  I think it’s a good ingredient to have around, especially with summer coming.

jellydonut 1 Jul 2011
9:18 am

Robert, is there any particular reason you chill the glasses with ice and water instead of storing them in the freezer? Just convenience?

Robert Hess 1 Jul 2011
9:19 pm

If you have access to a freezer (or glass chiller) and have enough room in it, this is a great way to chill your glasses, but if you don’t, then the next best way is how you often will see me doing on my show, by putting ice AND water in the glass to cool it down.

Stick1505 26 Sep 2011
12:26 pm

Robert I have a question. If we don’t have access to Absinthe is there a comparable alternative? I did read on a site they sell a form of Absinthe that is not made from the wormwood extract but I did not know how that would change the taste of the beverage. Please keep up the good work. As I am typing this I am drinking the Black Hawk Cocktail and it is really good. Thanks!

8stringfan 14 Oct 2012
6:38 pm

Obviously, each to their own, but this did nothing for me.  It’s gin and juice with sweetener and a hint of licorice.  I think I accidentally made these back in high school when someone had a bottle of gin and we were trying to find some way to make it palatable enough so that we could get enough down to get a buzz.  Granted, I am not a fan of absinthe/pastis (though I love Sazeracs, so go figure) and in general, just don’t care for OJ and liquor based drinks, so the Monkey Gland faced an uphill battle going in, but this really didn’t sell me.  I agree with Darcy at artofdrink, this cocktail may owe it’s long life to the odd name more than the fact that it’s any good.

Robert Hess 14 Oct 2012
6:49 pm

I’ve definately noticed that this drink works for some, and not for others.  I’m not sure if it is the “pastis” flavoring that is off-putting to some, but that could be part of it. I also suspect that in some part the actual brands being used could make a big difference as well.

8stringfan 10 Mar 2013
7:12 pm

Just for the hell of it, I tried a version of this drink featured in The PDT Cocktail Book, and I actually enjoyed the drink quite a lot.  Jim’s version differs in two very important ways.  First, he rinses with the pastis, rather than incorporate it directly into the drink in such a large amount.  This results in a far more subtle amount of anise flavor.  Second, and very importantly, he uses a teaspoon of pomegranate molasses instead of grenadine.  It’s a very, very different cocktail with those changes - far more unique, complex (though not exactly the deepest of deep drink) and exceptionally well-balanced.  He calls specifically for Beefeater, which I used, and think is a great call.  Pomegranate molasses is strong stuff, and a London Dry is a bigger gin than the softer Plymouth that I tend to use.

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