Monkey Gland Cocktail Recipe

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Monkey Gland Nutrition Facts






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 Monkey Gland cocktail has a fascinating history dating back to the 1920s. It was created by Harry MacElhone, the owner of Harry's New York Bar in Paris. The name of the cocktail was inspired by the controversial experiments of Dr. Serge Voronoff, who claimed that grafting monkey glands onto humans could increase longevity and vitality. The Monkey Gland became popular among the expatriate community in Paris and has since become a classic cocktail.

  • The Roaring Twenties
  • Prohibition Era
  • Parisian nightlife

How Monkey Gland Tastes?

The Monkey Gland has a complex and intriguing taste. It is a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, fruity, and herbal flavors. The gin provides a strong, juniper-forward base, while the orange juice adds a bright, citrusy sweetness. The grenadine contributes a touch of fruity sweetness, and the absinthe lends a subtle, herbal undertone.

Interesting facts about Monkey Gland

  • The Monkey Gland is named after a controversial medical procedure from the 1920s.
  • It was created by Harry MacElhone, a legendary bartender and owner of Harry's New York Bar in Paris.
  • The Monkey Gland is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time and remains popular today.


A few good options for Monkey Gland are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


Gin is the backbone, the very soul of the Monkey Gland. With 2oz, you get the perfect balance - too much, and you're gatecrashing juniper party; too little, and the gin is just a wallflower. Gin's herbal and bitter notes build a sturdy base for the sweeter and fruitier ingredients to dance upon. Ditch the gin, and you ditch the cocktail - no gin means no Monkey Gland. If you're out of gin, looking at you, vodka, won't be quite the same but will still make a decent understudy.

Emma Rose

Orange Juice

Easy, Tiger - with 1oz, this OJ isn't hijacking your cocktail, it's co-piloting. It brings the sunshine, a fruity tang that makes the whole shebang come alive. Skip the OJ, and you're missing out on that sweet-acidic handshake. Blood Orange could highjack the flavor profile with a deeper, more colorful twist if you feel adventurous.

Mary Mitkina


Half an ounce, the sweet whisper in the ear, grenadine lends a hint of pomegranate sugariness. Overdo it, and you're in kiddie cocktail territory; skimp on it, and what's even the point? You'll lose the rosy hue and depth. A splash of real pomegranate syrup could step in if you've run out - it's grenadine with a degree.

Alex Green


1tsp - not a drop more. Think of absinthe as that eccentric friend; too much, and they take over the party. It's here for a hint of licorice intrigue, a whisper of the Green Fairy. No absinthe? Your cocktail's missing a mysterious edge. Use pastis if you're in a pinch; it's absinthe without a few secrets.

Emma Rose

Orange Peel

The zest is the final zing, the curtain call. It adds a spritz of fresh citrus oil to the top notes. No peel? Well, your Monkey Gland will sadly lack its tailor-made suit. Lemon peel could pinch-hit, giving a different kind of citrus kick.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Monkey Gland Drink

  1. Prepare the glass: Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with absinthe and discard the excess.
  2. Mix the ingredients: In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the gin, orange juice, and grenadine.
  3. Shake: Shake the mixture vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Strain: Strain the cocktail into the prepared glass.
  5. Garnish: Express the oils from the orange peel over the cocktail and discard the peel.

Pro Tips

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Always use fresh orange juice for the best flavor.
  • Shake Well: Ensure to shake the mixture vigorously to properly mix the ingredients.
  • Chill the Glass: A chilled glass will keep your cocktail cooler for longer.

Perfect Pairings


  • Seafood: Light flavors of seafood, particularly shrimp or scallops, can complement the botanical notes of the gin and the citrus from the orange juice.
  • Cheese Platter: A selection of cheeses, especially those that are creamy and rich, will balance the sharpness of the absinthe and the sweetness of the grenadine.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Chicken: A herbed grilled chicken pairs nicely, as the gin's botanicals resonate with the herbs, and the citrus can cut through the richness of the meat.
  • Pasta with Creamy Sauce: Pastas with a creamy sauce will go well with the Monkey Gland's sweet and tart profile.


  • Citrus-Based Desserts: Lemon tarts or orange sorbet could match the cocktail's orange flavor profile.
  • Almond-Based Sweets: Almonds and grenadine share a complementary flavor profile.

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What you could change in Monkey Gland

  • Gin: You can substitute gin with vodka if you prefer a less botanical flavor.
  • Absinthe: If you can't find absinthe, you can use Pernod or another anise-flavored liqueur.
  • Grenadine: If you don't have grenadine, you can use a raspberry syrup or make your own by reducing pomegranate juice with sugar.

Explore all drinks starting with M here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Monkey

  • Replace gin with mezcal: Use 2oz mezcal for a smoky twist.
  • Increased absinthe: Go for a bold 1/4oz.
  • Grapefruit juice: Swap orange juice for 1oz grapefruit juice. In this punchier cousin of the original, mezcal's smokiness tangles with absinthe’s bite, while grapefruit lends a bittersweet touch. The Smoky Monkey is a more muscular, enigmatic beast for when you're feeling a tad wild.

Herbal Gland

  • Infused gin: Use a gin infused with additional botanicals like rosemary or thyme, still at 2oz.
  • Honey syrup: Replace grenadine with equal parts honey syrup.
  • Orange bitters: Add a few dashes for complexity. The Herbal Gland is like walking through a garden with a kick; a sweeter, more aromatic ride. For nature lovers wanting their taste buds to go hiking.

Forbidden Gland

  • Blackcurrant liqueur: Use a dash of crème de cassis instead of grenadine.
  • Blood orange juice: Swap for regular orange juice for an exotic flair.
  • Star anise: Garnish with a star anise float for a licorice accent. The Forbidden Gland has a touch of the mystical; deep hues, forbidden fruits, and the allure of night skies. The star anise watches over it like a dark, winking guardian. It’s the Monkey Gland for the daring nightcrawler.

In case you forgot basics how to make Monkey Gland

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

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 Monkey Gland

What type of gin is best to use for a Monkey Gland cocktail?

Most bartenders recommend using a dry gin for the Monkey Gland cocktail, but it ultimately depends on personal preference.

What's the significance of the Monkey Gland cocktail's name?

The cocktail was named after a controversial procedure, advocated by Dr. Serge Voronoff, in which monkey testicle glands were grafted onto humans to supposedly increase longevity and vitality.

What other cocktails did Harry MacElhone create?

Harry MacElhone is also credited with creating or popularizing a number of other famous cocktails, including the French 75 and the Bloody Mary.

Why is absinthe used in the Monkey Gland cocktail?

Absinthe adds a unique herbal note to the Monkey Gland cocktail that complements the other ingredients nicely. It also contributes to the cocktail's distinctive color.

Is the Monkey Gland cocktail considered a sweet or a sour drink?

The Monkey Gland cocktail has a balanced flavor profile with elements of both sweetness and sourness. The sweetness comes from the grenadine, while the orange juice adds sour elements.

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