Brass Monkey Cocktail Recipe

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Brass Monkey Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:20%

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Brass Monkey is a simple cocktail with a bit of a murky history. Some say it originated in the 1970s, while others claim it was a popular drink during the prohibition era. It's a favorite among those who enjoy a sweet, fruity cocktail with a bit of a kick.

  • The name 'Brass Monkey' is thought to come from an old naval term.
  • It was popularized by the Beastie Boys' song 'Brass Monkey'.
  • It's a great cocktail for those who enjoy sweet, fruity flavors.

How Brass Monkey Tastes?

The Brass Monkey is a sweet, fruity cocktail with a hint of tartness. It's a refreshing drink with a strong citrus flavor, balanced by the sweetness of the rum and the slight bitterness of the beer.

Interesting facts about Brass Monkey

  • The Brass Monkey is often served in a highball glass.
  • It's a popular cocktail at beach parties and summer gatherings.
  • The Brass Monkey is sometimes referred to as a 'poor man's cocktail' due to its simple ingredients.


Dark Rum

Dark rum is the soul of this cocktail, offering a rich and deep flavor that anchors the Brass Monkey. It's not overly sweet, so the 1.5 oz provides a perfect balance without overwhelming the drink. Leave it out? You'll miss the mystery. Swap it for light rum for a milder taste, or try bourbon for a Southern twist.

Mary Mitkina

Orange Juice

The sunny 4 oz of orange juice brightens the drink with its citrusy charm, offering both sweetness and tartness. Too little, and the rum goes unchecked; too much, and it's just adult juice. If you run out, try pineapple juice for a tropical kick.

Emma Rose


Surprise! The 1 oz of beer is a wink from the bartender, adding a fizz that picks up the spirits. It marries the rum and juice in a bubbly union. Skip it, and your monkey lacks its brass. A lager works best, but an ale gives more body if you're feeling rebellious.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Brass Monkey Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Pour the dark rum and orange juice into the glass.
  3. Top with beer.
  4. Stir gently to combine.
  5. Garnish with an orange slice.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh orange juice for the best flavor.
  • Don't overdo it with the beer, it should just add a bit of fizz and bitterness.
  • Serve immediately after mixing to maintain the fizz.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Grilled Meats: The boldness of the dark rum combines well with the smoky flavor of grilled chicken or pork.
  • Seafood: Lightly seasoned seafood dishes can bring out the citrus notes in the orange juice.
  • Spicy Dishes: Spicy cuisine like Thai or Caribbean can complement the complexity of the Brass Monkey.
  • Bar Snacks: Salty snacks like nuts or pretzels will contrast nicely with the sweet and tangy cocktail.

Drink Pairings

  • Water: To stay hydrated while enjoying the cocktail.
  • Coffee: A non-alcoholic option for those preferring a sober pick-me-up.

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What you could change in Brass Monkey

  • You can substitute the dark rum with light rum or spiced rum.
  • If you don't have orange juice, you can use grapefruit juice or pineapple juice.
  • Instead of beer, you can use ginger ale or club soda.

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And of course - twists🍹

Frozen Monkey

Ingredients: 1.5 oz Dark Rum, 4 oz Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate, 1 oz Beer, Ice Recipe: Blend the rum, frozen orange juice concentrate, and ice until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and top with beer. The result is a slushy tropical variant that'll make you feel like you're swinging from the palm trees.

Spiced Monkey

Ingredients: 1.5 oz Spiced Rum, 4 oz Blood Orange Juice, 1 oz Craft IPA Recipe: Combine spiced rum with blood orange juice for an intriguing twist. Top with a hoppy IPA to add complexity. This monkey has learned a few tricks, delivering a richer, slightly bitter experience.

Brass Monkey Mule

Ingredients: 1.5 oz Dark Rum, 2 oz Orange Juice, 0.5 oz Lime Juice, 1 oz Ginger Beer, 1 oz Beer Recipe: Shake rum, orange juice, and lime juice with ice. Strain into a mule cup filled with ice, then top with equal parts beer and ginger beer. It's a refreshing cocktail that'll kick like a mule and swing like a monkey.

In case you forgot basics how to make Brass Monkey

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Brass Monkey

Why is it called a Brass Monkey?

Though it's mentioned that 'Brass Monkey' might have come from an old naval term, another theory suggests that it refers to a colonial Indian way of serving beer which involved a large brass bucket (the monkey) filled with several bottles of beer that were kept cold with ice.

Is the 'Brass Monkey' a strong cocktail?

With a 20% alcohol volume, this cocktail is considered moderate. The actual impact, of course, may vary depending on individual tolerance to alcohol, and mixing alcohol with juice or other mixers can sometimes mask the strength of the alcohol.

What type of beer is best for the 'Brass Monkey' cocktail?

A light lager or pilsner style beer is recommended as it does not overpower the sweetness of the rum and the orange juice.

How should this cocktail be served?

The 'Brass Monkey' is best served chilled, and immediately after preparation to maintain the fizz from the beer.

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