The Monkey Gland cocktail is a debatable classic.
Funny name, famed history but with a flavor profile that not every one can get behind. Orange juice, anise, raspberry syrup and gin. It requires a delicate mix.
The cocktail is one that most bartenders eventually want to try, if for no other reason than the name. The color is vibrant making anyone who sees it want a taste. Oh, but then you taste it.
The drink evokes curiosity also for its famous creator: “Frank of the Ritz” Meier (Ritz Paris). Frank’s purported goal was to make a cocktail with a kick for the Prohibition fleeing American tourists, according to this great newspaper clipping found by Darcy O’Neil. (Fun Facts: Frank Meier also created the Bees Knees cocktail. Known as a gambler, when Frank was too busy to get away from the bar to place bets, his buddy Ernest Hemingway would go place money for him)
Darcy goes on to note that the drink would’ve had many things going for it from a marketing perspective. The aforementioned Prohibition. The strength of the cocktail. The bright red color. The sexually subversive name. And Absinthe. Absinthe was illegal everywhere by this point and had more cache than its dwindling stocks could serve.
To sell a drink: make it red, forbidden and sexual and you have a winning formula. – Darcy O’Neil
The goal at justcocktails is to take any classic drink recipe and make it modern. So for the Monkey Gland cocktail we needed to find the right gin, the right anise spirit and the correct balance for the overall drink. Then bottle it and take it to the beach, because Friday. Diffords Guide notes in their excellent biography of Frank Meier that even his craziest drinks would’ve been produced with care.
“There is no reason ever to drink a bad one. Almost any of the ingredients of which Cocktails are composed might better be consumed ‘straight’ rather than just carelessly poured together.” – Frank Meier
Lastly, despite being German, Frank Meier did what he could to fight the Nazi’s during WWII, so in effect, enjoying his cocktails honors that legacy (Reason to drink #47)
2 parts St George Botanivore Gin
1 part Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1/8 part Home-made Raspberry Syrup
1/8 part Fresh Lemon Juice
Combine ingredients in a stirring vessel rinsed with St George Absinthe. Add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a coupé. Garnish with expressed orange oil and place peel on rim.
The botanicals of the Gin and Absinthe working in harmony made St George Spirits an obvious choice for the Monkey Gland cocktail and having access to fresh raspberry syrup was a plus. For those without access to raspberry syrup, you can sub grenadine. We added some lemon juice to brighten this cocktail and improve the balance.
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