Stuffed MonkeyThis drink is worth making for its history alone. Still, we’ll start with the recipe and then move on from there.

The Monkey Gland

1 1/2oz (dry) gin
1 oz (freshly squeezed) orange juice
1/4 oz grenadine
1/4 oz Pernod

Shake over ice, strain into cocktail glass and serve with an orange twist. I’ve seen it made 1:1 gin:orange juice and served with no garnish, but if you’re getting the juice from an orange, you might as well use the peel.

As a quick aside, some folks substitute Benedictine instead of the Pernod (I think this was started when Absinthe fell out of favor).

Almost as fun as drinking the cocktail is the history behind the name of this one. “Monkey Gland” derives its name from Serge Voronoff’s 1920’s-1930’s habit of grafting monkey testicle tissue on to humans. The original claim was that this process would be rejuvenating for the entire body of the patient, although most patients were old rich men hoping for rejuvenation of just one organ. It was all the rage in France for a while, and originally started with using tissue from executed criminals but there just wasn’t enough supply to, ah, keep up with demand. An odd twist on this is that in the 1999 it was speculated that this procedure perhaps introduced HIV to humans.

While this is all great, the real kicker for me was what this all inspired. In addition to a cocktail, the process was incorporated into such songs as Billy Meyer’s Made a Monkey Out of Me. The last few lines of which are:

It was a monkey gland
That made a monkey out of me

Which of course immediately had me singing the Simpson’s Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z from their Planet of the Apes spoof. The song nears its end with Troy McClure exclaiming, “Yes, you’ve finally made a monkey out of me!”

The Monkey Gland, folks. Drink up and enjoy.

1 Comment

  1. I love you, Dr. Zaius!