Monkey Gland – Recipe from David Embury’s ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’

1 part grenadine

2 parts orange juice

6 parts gin

1 or 2 dashes of absinthe

Shake with crushed ice

I came across this drink when trying to put together a class of ‘spooky’ Halloween cocktails a couple of years ago, I’d heard of the drink, and even tried it, but I didn’t know the fascinating back story.

Serge Voronoff was a French surgeon who came up with the idea that by grafting thyroid chimpanzees onto a human he would restore the youth and vigour to the person, he then moved to transplanting the testicles of executed criminals to humans, and then as the source of material dried up turned to monkey testicle tissue instead. He found a wealthy benefactor and started more research. His treatments became famous and everyone wanted it done, so much so that at one stage in order to cope with demand he started a monkey farm on the Italian riviera.

As his work became famous, and he became incredibly wealthy the concept started creeping into popular culture and references to monkey glands and other aspects of Voronoffs work found there way into film with the Marx brothers, music with Irving Berlin, and prose with Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. It was only a matter of time before there was a cocktail, and we have Harry MacElhone owner of the Harrys bar cocktail factory in Paris to thank for that.

The drink itself is not a bad one, the absinthe makes the drink, gin and juice although a once popular drink doesn’t really do it for me.

Worth trying for interests sake, but not one either myself or I suspect anyone else will be going back to on a regular basis.