Rule 37: The Monkey Gland

Modern Drunkard Magazine’s articleThe 86 Rules of Boozing, by Frank Kelly Rich states:
Rule 37. Try one new drink each week.
The Rule 37 series of posts chronicle my attempts to accomplish this feat every week.
For the recipes of R37s past, click the Htf do I make these drinks? tab.

Ok. This one is a classic, but with a weird story involving monkey balls.


The Monkey Gland is Prohibition-era based cocktail, but that isn’t terribly interesting because so many cocktails came out of those Dark Ages. What’s intriguing is its name, which comes from a medical procedure where the testicle of a monkey was implanted into a human male for its supposed benefits of virility. This was the thinking at the time: if we put a monkey ball inside of you, you’ll become a studly manish man full of vim and vigor.


Anyway, I saw the cocktail somewhere in the whirlpool of drinking blogs I follow, and recalled reading about it in Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh’s book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. So I dug out his recipe and gave it a try.

The Monkey Gland

– 1 1/2 oz London Dry gin (used Bombay)
– 1 1/2 oz fresh orange juice
– 1 teaspoon absinthe (Dr. Cocktail says Pernod or Ricard will do the trick. I went with Pernod)
– 1 teaspoon grenadine (the real stuff)

Shake, strain, serve into a chilled old-timey cocktail coupe.

No garnish is specified, but I used a nice big swath of orange peel because it looked cool.

I’m a rebel like that.

I took a whiff, and despite using only one teaspoon of Pernod (about .16 oz), that’s all I could smell. Anise/ black licorice, but there did seem to be a faint sweetness in the background. It tasted of Pernod right away, but not as aggressively anise-y as a straight taste of the liqueur. Makes sense since there were three ounces of gin and orange juice trying to dilute it. Still, the black licorice is the foremost flavor. At least initially. There is a very interesting phenomenon caused by the Pernod where a moment after you take a sip, there is a sudden open feeling in your mouth as if the drink has suddenly evaporated. The drink lifts off of your tongue and dissolves like cotton candy, light and airy, like it wasn’t even there. It’s not a harsh alcohol burn type of evaporation, which is like a high proof spirit boiling off your taste buds. It’s more like a sudden rush of cooling air, like the menthol in something minty. It’s very strange, and a delightful sensation.

It really didn’t have much in the way of flavor, aside from the anise. As I sipped further, I started to get a touch of orange flavor, and there was some grenadine sweetness nearer to the bottom of the glass where the heavy syrup had settled. I might try this one again, backing off on the Pernod (other reciepes call for a “dash” rather than a teaspoon) and seeing if more flavor comes forward. Another thought is to find a stronger-flavored gin, though a London Dry should have enough oomph to stand up in this tipple. This is not a drink for a delicate gin.

Still, that weirdly wonderful cooling sensation from the Pernod is worth a try. Give it a whirl.

Just don’t molest any monkeys.

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2 thoughts on “Rule 37: The Monkey Gland

  • Lady Friend

    Just a thought – I wonder how it would have been different with Absinthe instead of the Pernod? Don’t think I’ve ever had Absinth, but I’m assuming it doesn’t have that distinct anise taste of Pernod that dominated this drink.

    • squirrelfarts Post author

      Actually, absinthe is an anise-flavored spirit. Pernod originally made absinthe. Their anise liqueur came about as pastis and such after absinthe was banned.