Traditional recipes

Monkey Gland Cocktail recipe

Monkey Gland Cocktail recipe

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  • Dish type
  • Drink
  • Cocktails
  • Gin cocktails

For a different take on this cocktail, try replacing the Pernod with a dash of Benedictine.

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IngredientsServes: 1

  • ice
  • 2 measures gin
  • 1 measure fresh orange juice
  • 1 dash Pernod
  • couple dashes of grenadine
  • twist of orange peel for garnish

MethodPrep:3min ›Ready in:3min

  1. Chill a martini glass in the freezer. Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Pour in gin, OJ, Pernod and grenadine. Shake well and strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with a twist of orange if you like.

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The Monkey Gland is a cocktail of gin, orange juice, grenadine and absinthe. TheMonkey Gland is named after the pseudo-scientific idea that grafting monkey testicle tissue into humans would increase longevity, the idea developed by the French doctor Serge Voronoff. He first performed testicular transplants on animals, taking the testicles from young animals and implanting these older animals. Voronoff allegedly observed increases in vitality that encouraged him to apply this method to humans. Since the 1920s, and thus at the time when the Monkey Gland was born, he had transplanted monkey testicles into the scrotum of people who believed that the method would rejuvenate them.

Monkey Gland

Back in the not so halcyon days of the Roaring Twenties, doctors used to perform some — let’s say — interesting procedures. Procedures like grafting the skin of fertility inducing spots from animals onto people. It was a thing, factual and true (look up Dr. Serge Voronoff to see). Odd, yes, but these peculiar practices did inspire some great cocktails, such as our winner for today the Monkey Gland.

Recently, Alice and I had some friends over to celebrate hanging out with friends — a great reason, every time. I knew that we were going to be heading out to sample some of the local, indigenous breweries in our area, but when you have friends over you can’t miss the opportunity to let them sample your booze collection.

I’m firmly of the opinion that collecting things is fun, but if you only collect them to let them collect dust, that’s a waste. So, whenever we get the chance to let people sample our burgeoning assortment of different and fun alcohols, we take it.

There was Bobby, who’s a fan of all things except beer (which in significant quantities reacts poorly with him) or living somewhere exciting (true story, just try to convince him to leave Ridgecrest, won’t happen). He brought along his brother Little Tommy, who’s a fan of all things, but especially beer (he clearly got the beer drinking genes), expensive Scotch (which is a great pickup line for ladies in his young age bracket) and (interestingly) absinthe.

He’s such an absinthe fan, that once when the three of us were in Vegas (which is where we typically meet to do fancy booze tasting), he insisted on hitting up an absinthe cart. It was the full experience. Absinthe, sugar, water, pouring, flames, excitement, much happiness. Granted, he promptly passed out after drinking it, but he did mention that he enjoyed it prior to falling into a sleeping stupor.

Knowing that he’s a fan, I knew we needed to up our absinthe game, because absinthe is awesome. Which takes us right back to Dr. Serge Voronoff and his odd procedure with monkey bits. Let your imagination run wild — it’s probably correct.

Like many drinks from the era, you get a play on names, a visually interesting drink and unique flavors that modern palettes aren’t accustomed to tasting frequently. Promise though, it’s a winner.

You have OJ (be wild, go fresh squeezed), grenadine (you can also make your own, or buy a very nice one), gin (suck it up Little Tommy, this will make you like gin) and (as promised) absinthe.

The grenadine and the orange compliment the herbaceous notes in the gin, while the absinthe ties it all together and provides you the added strength to contemplate such a peculiar procedure. At the very least, it gives you the power to stay awake (probably not) and contemplate moving to exciting new places (also, probably not, but what the hell).

Monkey Gland Cocktail

Think of cocktails and, more than likely, imagery of impossibly glamorous people, smoky rooms, and bootleggers will pop into your head. Or perhaps it’s something closer to unsavoury bars with lurid coloured abominations masquerading as cocktails.

But these mixed drinks are so much more than that: they can also be used to tell stories of the past. They can be a window into many different types of histories, not least because they are reflections of the intentions of various peoples: the establishment that commissions them, the person that makes them, and even the customer who is meant to drink them.

Sometimes, the name of the cocktail itself can give us an insight into the most unlikely parts of history. For many cultures, the naming of something gave it power, substance, and meaning and it is no different for cocktails.


One dash of Absinthe
One teaspoonful of Grenadine
Equal parts Orange Juice and Gin

Cocktail shaker
Martini Glass

How to make this cocktail
Fill the cocktail shaker halfway up with gin, then orange juice to (almost) the brim. Add the Absinthe and Grenadine. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

Strange, unappetising, name for a cocktail isn’t it – Monkey’s Gland?

There are two claims for the creation of this cocktail. The first, and most likely, is from Harry MacElhone, owner of Harry’s New York Bar, Paris. And the second is from Frank Meier of the Ritz, also in Paris. Both claim they invented this cocktail in 1922.

“New Cocktail in Paris,” Washington Post, April 23, 1922

Less controversial is what influenced the naming of it.

The name – Monkey’s Gland – refers to a rejuvenation treatment that was in vogue in the image-conscious 1920s.

Serge Voronoff, a Russian Scientist who had been studying the effects of castration on eunuchs, devised the treatment. Voronoff observed that the eunuchs were sickly and tended to die young. He concluded that this was because of their lack of testicles. The treatment he devised took this to what he thought was the logical conclusion. Voronoff transplanted thin pieces of monkey’s testicles onto humans to improve their health and vitality.

This testicular transplant procedure was not unique to Voronoff -– others had tried interspecies transplantation with sheep, goats and bulls. But Voronoff was the first person to attempt primate to human transplant. He reasoned that monkeys were the closest to humans and thus it would work best.

Despite some very suspect before and after shots in his book, Life: A Study of the Means of Restoring, Voronoff’s procedure was a hit. Through the 1920s, an estimated 4000 people had the procedure. This also included women when Voronoff extended the procedure to ovaries taken from monkeys. For men, Voronoff promised increased sex drive, better memory, and a longer life. While for women, he promised anti-ageing and the restoration of beauty.

Before and After Photos of Mr E.L from Serge Voronoff “Life: A Study of the Means of Restoring”

The treatment’s downfall came when the subjects aged normally – despite Voronoff’s intervention. At first, he claimed that it was because the glands died after five years and it was just a matter of having the treatment again. But, eventually, the treatment fell out of favour.

Voronoff died alone in his castle in Switzerland. Though he died a very rich man, he had lost his reputation. Nevertheless, the cocktail he inspired is still served across the world.

Taste Test (or should that be Taste Teste)
I am not going to lie this does take some getting used to. The absinthe and grenadine, though, takes this to another level. If you have the time, I recommend making homemade grenadine (seriously, do it – it will change your cocktail making for the better). Also, absinthe is preferable to Pernod or Ricard, which are adaptations that have been around since the 1920s.

Did you know?
Other cultural products also refer to Voronoff’s experiments. For example, “The Adventure of the Creeping Man” (Strand Magazine 1923) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In this story, Holmes discovers that an ageing professor has injected himself with an extract from a Langur, a type of monkey. This experiment had some, let us say, unexpected consequences.

Other cultural products also refer to Voronoff’s experiments. For example, “The Adventure of the Creeping Man” (Strand Magazine 1923) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In this story, Holmes discovers that an ageing professor has injected himself with an extract from a Langur, a type of monkey. This experiment had some, let us say, unexpected consequences.

Lucy Jane Santos is a freelance writer and historian with a special interest in popular science and the history of everyday life. Writes & talks (a lot) about cocktails and radium. Her debut non-fiction Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium will be published by Icon in July 2020. You can visit her at, Facebook:, Twitter:, Instagram:, Pinterest:

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Monkey Gland

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The Monkey Gland is a gin-based cocktail blended with orange juice and enlivened by grenadine and Pernod. Few classic cocktails of such appealing character have such odious names. Harry MacElhone, owner of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, is credited with mixing the first Monkey Gland in the 1920s. The sonorous sobriquet was inspired by the work of Serge Voronoff, a Russian who experimented with the sexual organs of monkeys for rejuvenation. The verdict is not in on the procedures with the naughty bits of monkeys, but the bygone fashionable drink is a reliable rejuvenator.

Order a Monkey Gland by its ingredients rather than its name. Older bartenders may have a flash of recognition, but younger ones will be clueless. Tell them it’s something you’ve been monkeying around with.

The original recipe for the Monkey Gland called for anisette, but both Pernod and Bénédictine have become common substitutions.

Singapore Sling

The flavors in a Singapore Sling are similar to a Monkey Gland in that they’re both fruity and herbaceous. It’s been said that no two published recipes for the drink are the same, and you’ll notice that this one probably isn’t the same as other versions you’ve made or drank. Modern versions are quite grenadine-forward, which makes the drink overly-sweet. This version is citrus and fruit-forward, which creates a more balanced drink.


  • 3/4 oz. Gin
  • 1/4 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1/4 oz. Cherry liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. Herbal liqueur
  • 1 oz. Pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. Lime juice
  • 1 dash of bitters
  • Club soda (to top)
  • Cherries or Orange wedge (garnish)


  • In a shaker filled with ice, add all ingredients (except club soda)
  • Shake until chilled
  • Strain into highball glass
  • Top with club soda
  • Garnish
  • Serve

Monkey Gland Cocktail recipe - Recipes

Despite its curious name, this cocktail has impeccable bloodlines, having been created at Harry's Bar in Paris. Who came up with the moniker remains a mystery. All we can say is, that's what happens when you let the customers name the cocktails&mdashespecially if they've already had a few of them.

Our studies reveal that classic European recipes call for Pernod, while American recipes of classic vintage tend to favor Benedictine.

2 oz. gin
1 oz. orange juice
3 dashes grenadine
3 dashes Pernod or Benedictine

Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker over cracked ice. Shake and strain into a chilled glass.

FOR YOUR FURTHER DRINKING PLEASURE: The Monkey Gland is a racier version of an earlier staple of the Prohibition era, the Orange Blossom, which was straight-forward gin and orange juice without the fillip of either grenadine or Pernod. If good gin was available, the cocktail was mixed in a ratio of two parts gin to 1 part orange juice. If the gin was terrible, a half-and-half mix was employed. Then there is the Colonial cocktail, which is an Orange Blossom made with grapefruit juice rather than orange, then enhanced with 1/2 ounce of maraschino liqueur and garnished with a cherry.

Cocktail Hour
Authentic Recipes and Illustrations from 1920 to 1960

by Susan Waggoner and Robert Markel
Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Hardcover, $15.95
ISBN: 1584794909
Recipe reprinted by permission.

Absinthe Classic Cocktail Recipe: Monkey Gland

The Monkey Gland cocktail became a fast favorite this summer in the Pernod Absinthe Tasting Room at Tales of the Cocktail ’09 in New Orleans. Pernod Absinthe could have gone the truly strong route with raucous drink recipes that played up the strong character of the spirit. Instead the drinks chosen drew in a crowd like me who might otherwise skip the spirit all together due to its overbearing nature. Absinthe is usually a love it or leave it type spirit. However, Pernod turned the tables by including cocktails that highlighted the spirit without turning the entire cocktail into a total licorice/anise taste fest.

Monkey Gland is an unfortunate name for such a lovely cocktail deep in luscious flavor, but a classic cocktail none the less in my opinion. It retains beautiful color due to the orange juice and homemade grenadine inclusion. By washing the glass with Pernod Absinthe rather than adding dashes into the drink itself, the cocktail maintains faint wisps of Absinthe flavor and aroma that are simply delightful. Much of taste has to do with aroma. Breathing in the Pernod Absinthe washed around the glass while sipping the Monkey Gland combines into something rather magnificent.

Monkey Gland

Orange Zest Twist Garnish

Place Pernod Absinthe in a cocktail glass with ice. Set aside. Combine Beefeater Gin, orange juice and grenadine in a mixing glass with ice. Shake to chill. Toss Pernod Absinthe and ice from cocktail glass. Strain contents of mixing glass into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange zest twist.

  • I always felt like eighty-three
  • Standing 'round like an old oak tree
  • But something wonderful happened to me
  • Just wait and see.
  • A little operation
  • Filled me full of syncopation
  • And now I shout with glee!
  • (monkey screech) I'm just a monkey man.
  • I feel like a wild monkey
  • Looking for a chimpanzee.
  • (monkey screech) See this monkey talk.
  • Every day in every way
  • I'm getting better in my monkey walk.
  • (monkey screech) I'm wild as wild can be.
  • (monkey screech) So don't you monkey with me.
  • Since my recovery, the other day
  • I made a discovery, and that's why I say
  • Understand
  • It was a monkey gland
  • That made a monkey out of me.
  • "Made a Monkey Out of Me"
  • &mdashMeyers, Black, and Schoebel
  • 1923, Original Memphis Melody Boys featuring
  • Billy Meyers, the Original Monkey Man
  • 1-1/2 ounces (1/3 gill, 4.5 cl) dry gin
  • 1-1/2 ounces (1/3 gill, 4.5 cl) orange juice
    (fresh squeezed makes it unimaginably good)
  • 1 teaspoon real pomegranate grenadine
  • 1 teaspoon absinthe or pastis
    (Pernod, Herbsaint, and Ricard all work.)

Shake vigorously in an iced cocktail shaker, and strain into a small cocktail glass.

Pa-Poose Grenadine, New Orleans circa 1950s. Pernod absinthe circa 1910, Booth's Gin circa 1933. Prohibition at its Worst, 1926. The Saloon in the Home, 1930.

The latter book made righteous fun of the Noble Experiment, pairing fervent temperance songs with cocktail recipes.

Prohibition turned out to be a boon to rebellious cocktail creation. The symbolic flagship of the Prohibition venue was undoubtedly Harry's Bar, which was far from American shores: I do not mean the famous one named after Harry Pickering in Venice, Italy, cozy and traditional as it might be, but rather the 1920s beehive of activity that was Harry McElhone's joint, Harry's New York Bar-situated, ironically, in Paris. This venue embodied the spirit of Gatsby, of flappers, and of moneyed Americans abroad. From this wellspring flowed the cocktail that, to my mind, is most associated with Prohibition, the Monkey Gland.

Veteran vaudevillian Billy Meyers sang of it in "Made a Monkey Out of Me," whose lyrics contain an extended double entendre: referring to how the drink presumably made you act and the procedure from which its name derived. This medical procedure, pioneered by Dr. Serge Voronoff and very au courant in Paris in the mid-twenties, involved transplanting a monkey testicle into male humans to "rejuvenate" them. Claims were made of it being a veritable fountain of youth, but it was really the promise of the gland's aphrodisiac effects that caught everyone's imagination.

Drink Note

Some recipes have altered the ingredients (presumably to preclude the use of the frowned-upon absinthe), substituting, instead, Benedictine. As a matter of fact, I've seen this substitution in several old cocktails that originally contained absinthe. I'll guess this was not entirely happenstance. Whereas the learned cocktailians Gary and Mardee Regan prefer this style, I find the original recipe remains entirely persuasive and is, in fact, a crowd-pleaser. You can also vary it, as some have done, using 2 ounces (1/3 gill, 6 cl) of gin to 1 ounce (1/4 gill, 3 cl) of orange juice, if it suits you.

As pay per click advertisers, we get access to the other side of the search engines. They tell us how many times a word, or phrase gets searched for. This is the basis of our research.

It’s not just the root word like sidecar or screwdriver. It also includes a qualifier word like cocktail, or drink, because people searching for screwdrivers and sidecars, may be looking for motorcycle parts, tools, or something other than cocktails.

It’s also based on intent. So it’s not just a qualifier along with a root word, as in Sidecar Cocktail, or Screwdriver Drink, because those searches might be due to curiosity. So to qualify searches even further, there also had to be intent to make the cocktail, as in “how to make” a Screwdriver, or Sidecar “Recipe” or Hurricane “Ingredients.”

The search volume for the qualifier phrases, and the intent phrases, were added together to come up with the numbers. So in the table below, Mojito in the #1 spot was searched on average, 654,000 times per month, whereas the French Martini in the #50 spot was searched for 24,000 times per month.

The Top 50 most popular cocktails in the world

  1. 654.0 Mojito
  2. 421.0 Margarita
  3. 262.0 Caipirinha
  4. 248.0 Martini
  5. 246.0 Pina Colada
  6. 217.0 Old Fashioned
  7. 213.0 White Russian
  8. 205.0 Long Island Iced Tea
  9. 176.0 Moscow Mule
  10. 165.0 Bellini
  11. 141.0 Mai Tai
  12. 135.0 Sex On The Beach
  13. 134.0 Manhattan
  14. 126.0 Hot Toddy
  15. 115.0 Cuba Libre
  16. 108.0 Mint Julep
  17. 105.0 Daiquiri
  18. 101.0 Bloody Mary
  19. 092.0 Irish Coffee
  20. 084.0 Tom Collins
  21. 082.0 Negroni
  22. 076.0 Whiskey Sour
  23. 070.0 Sidecar
  24. 069.0 Rob Roy
  25. 068.0 Black Russian
  26. 067.0 Pisco Sour
  27. 063.0 Dirty Martini
  28. 062.0 Cosmopolitan
  29. 061.0 Pink Martini
  30. 057.0 Sazerac ®
  31. 052.0 Dark ‘N Stormy ®
  32. 051.0 Singapore Sling
  33. 045.5 Gimlet
  34. 044.1 Mudslide
  35. 040.0 Rusty Nail
  36. 037.0 B52 Cocktail
  37. 036.1 Caipiroska
  38. 035.0 Tequila Sunrise
  39. 034.0 Dry Martini
  40. 032.5 Lemon Drop Martini
  41. 031.3 Pink Lady
  42. 031.0 Espresso Martini
  43. 029.2 Hot Buttered Rum
  44. 028.2 Harvey Wallbanger
  45. 028.0 Gin Fizz
  46. 027.0 Brandy Alexander
  47. 026.6 Hurricane
  48. 026.4 Pimm’s Cup
  49. 025.5 French 75
  50. 024.8 Fuzzy Navel

What follows is a list of 100 or so well known drinks that didn’t make it into the Top 50 Cocktails List. They are provided here for reference, so that you can see where they finished, relative to the winners.

018.7 Strawberry Margarita

002.8 Caramel Apple Martini

000.8 Slow Comfortable Screw

000.2 Russian Spring Punch

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The Monkey Gland: 1920s Viagra in a classic cocktail

We seem to have developed a bit of a monkey theme this week. So in that spirit, here’s the bizarre story behind one of the world’s most famous gin cocktails – the Monkey Gland.

This classic cocktail was first mixed up at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. Let’s take a step back in time to the 1920s, when legendary bartender Harry MacElhone was starting to build a reputation for himself in the heart of Paris. He was well known for mixing up fabulous American style cocktails for his glamorous roster of international clients. In 1922, in a clever marketing move, he thought he’d collect his best recipes and publish them in a book of cocktails which he called “Harry’s ABC of mixing cocktails”. The book contained one particular drink with a strange name and a bizarre story.

Building the Monkey gland legend

The art of cocktail making isn’t simply about mixing the right ingredients, there is also the little matter of building a reputation. Harry knew that and concocted a wickedly strong cocktail by mixing classic London Dry gin with a little orange juice and a few dashes of Grenadine. To top it off, he added the final detail – 3 dashes of high strength Absinthe to guarantee an out of this world experience. He mixed it all up, shook it with ice and poured it into a Martini glass. It was delicious, but he knew he had to have a name for it if he was to create a classic cocktail. He called it the Monkey Gland – and he took inspiration from a bizarre source.

Monkey glands, Viagra and a Russian scientist

In those pre-Viagra days, a Russian scientist called Serge Voronoff was experimenting with ways of maintaining men’s “staying power” and he hit on a very strange technique. He grafted monkey glands onto men in a bid to boost their virility. While this was a bit extreme (and there is no evidence that this technique actually worked) Harry was inspired. He knew that sex sells, so in honour of Prof. Voronoff, he decided to name his new drink “The Monkey Gland” with all the promises and hope that a stimulating drink like this brings to men of a certain age.

It has been a bartender’s classic ever since. While we can’t vouch for the medical benefits of this drink, we can highly recommend it for its flavour and strength. For the prefect pour, we recommend making it with a good, classic London Dry such as Sipsmith [paid link].

Handle with care

Beware of the Absinthe – it’s not to everyone’s taste, but it packs a real alcoholic punch, so handle with care.

Here’s our classic recipe for a traditional Monkey Gland:


  • 3 dashes of absinthe
  • 3 dashes of Grenadine
  • ⅓ orange juice
  • ⅔ London Dry gin


Shake well (over ice) and stir into cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange slice or a twist of burnt orange peel for a little extra flavour. Enjoy!

Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

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Watch the video: Monkey Gland Cocktail - The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess (November 2021).