The Story Behind The Monkey Gland

The Monkey Gland may be an unusual blend of bar cart staples, but when composed just right, it transforms into an enticing and delicious concoction. The base of the drink is herbaceous, bright, and poppy, with a straightforward mixture of gin, orange juice, and Grenadine. But what really sets this drink apart is a rinse of absinthe in the glass beforehand, leaving behind a subtle, sultry perfume of anise. What would otherwise be a fun, fruity, easy sipper becomes complex and alluring.

According to Rob Chirico’s “Field Guide to Cocktails,” the origins of the Monkey Gland can be traced back to Harry MacElhone, owner and bartender at the iconic Harry’s New York Bar in 1920s Paris. The name itself comes from a pseudo–scientific idea popularized in that era, which argued that inserting the tissue of a monkey testicle inside the human body could increase longevity.

Needless to say, we’d rather stick with the namesake drink.


  • 1-2 dashes absinthe
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 ounce Grenadine
  • Garnish: orange twist


  1. Add the absinthe to a chilled coupe glass and swirl to coat, dumping out any excess. Set aside.
  2. Add the gin, orange juice, and Grenadine to a shaker with ice and shake until cold.
  3. Strain into your prepared coupe and garnish with orange twist.

Rate This Recipe:

(22 votes)

Yield: 1
Calories: 181
Updated: 2022-12-13

Monkey Gland Recipe