Iconic Monkey Gland Cocktail Recipe, a Perfect Summer Gin Cocktail

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The Monkey Gland Cocktail is a classic, yet underrated drink that is surprisingly good. With its unique blend of ingredients and intriguing history, this cocktail will elevate your mixology game to new heights.

Monkey Gland cocktail with orange slice

The History of the Monkey Gland Cocktail

This cocktail is an iconic drink that has been around since the 1920s. It was first created by a bartender named Harry McElhone, who worked at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France. 

This bar was a popular spot for American expats and celebrities during the era of prohibition in the United States. It’s made up of gin, orange juice, grenadine syrup and absinthe or Pernod.

Ingredients for the Monkey Gland Cocktail

The iconic drink is a gin-based drink that is both fruity and aromatic. The recipe contains several ingredients that give it its signature flavor and kick. To make this classic cocktail, you will need:

  • Gin
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Grenadine syrup
  • Absinthe or Pernod

Gin is the primary liquor used in this cocktail recipe, and it provides the base for the drink’s flavor profile. The other ingredients complement the taste of gin by infusing it with hints of sweet, sour, bitter, and herbal notes.

Fresh orange juice adds a tangy sweetness to balance out the drink’s bitterness, while grenadine syrup contributes a pleasant fruity undertone.

Absinthe or Pernod is an essential ingredient in this recipe as it imparts a slightly licorice-like taste that complements the other flavors. Aromatic bitters add depth and complexity to the cocktail with their herbal notes, while an orange peel garnish gives off a citrusy aroma that heightens one’s senses.

It’s a perfect summer cocktail!

Choosing Your Gin

If you’re making a Monkey Gland cocktail, you’ll want to choose a London Dry Gin that has a strong juniper flavor and works well with the other ingredients in the cocktail. Give these a try:

  • Beefeater London Dry Gin
  • Tanqueray London Dry Gin
  • Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin
  • Sipsmith London Dry Gin

Each of these gins has a unique flavor profile, so it may be worth trying out a few to see which one you prefer in your Monkey Gland cocktail. Cheers!

Does the orange juice have to be freshly squeezed?

It’ll taste much fresher and brighter. Bottled orange juice is barely fruit-related by the time it’s been processed. Fresh adds a ton of flavor in comparison.

Picking a good grenadine

For a cocktail this good, it’s worth getting a high quality small batch grenadine like Liber & Co. It tastes worlds apart from the bright red bottle in supermarkets.

You can also make your own grenadine.

Preparing the Cocktail Mix

Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to start preparing your cocktail mix. Begin by filling a cocktail shaker with ice, and add all the ingredients to it.

Optionally, you can coat the inside of your cocktail glass with absinthe instead of putting it in the shaker. Just pour it in and swirl it around the glass to get it all over the sides, and then pour out the excess. It’s worth trying it both ways.

Serve Your Cocktail with Style

Now that you have mastered the art of making the perfect Monkey Gland, it’s time to serve it with some style. A well-prepared cocktail deserves an equally impressive presentation. 

1. Glassware: The right glassware can make all the difference when serving cocktails. For this drink, use a classic martini glass or a coupe glass for a sophisticated look.

2. Garnish: The garnish for this drink is an orange slice or twist. You could also consider using citrus peels, cherries, and even edible flowers as garnishes.

3. Presentation: Finally, arrange your glasses attractively on a tray or platter along with other necessary items such as napkins and straws. Serve them to your guests with confidence and pride in your bartending skills.

Tips and Tricks for Perfecting Your Monkey Gland Cocktail Recipe

Now it’s time to focus on perfecting your recipe. Here are some tips and tricks to help you take your cocktail-making skills to the next level:

1. Adjust the sweetness: The original recipe calls for grenadine syrup as a sweetener. However, if you prefer a less sweet cocktail, reduce the amount of grenadine or swap it out altogether for another sweetener like honey or agave syrup.

2. Chill your glasses: A chilled glass can make all the difference in how your cocktail is received by guests. Place your glasses in the freezer for at least 10 minutes before serving to create an extra refreshing experience.

3. Use quality ingredients: The better quality of gin and orange juice you use in this recipe, the better-tasting cocktail results will be produced. It is always best to use high-end spirits whenever possible.

4. Practice makes perfect: As with any craft, practice makes perfect when it comes to making cocktails. Keep experimenting with different ingredients and ratios until you find what works best for you.

And that’s the Monkey Gland Recipe

The Monkey Gland is a classic drink that’s stood the test of time because it tastes good. The ingredients are rather simple, and so is its preparation.

It continues to be a popular choice for cocktail enthusiasts around the world. With its unique combination of ingredients and bold flavor profile, it is no surprise that this drink has remained a favorite for nearly a century.

Whether you’re looking to impress guests at your next party or simply enjoy a delicious drink on your own, the Monkey Gland Cocktail is sure to satisfy. 

Monkey Gland cocktail with orange slice

Monkey Gland Recipe

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

The Monkey Gland cocktail recipe is a classic gin drink from the 1920s. It features orange juice, absinthe and grenadine, and you can easily make it at home!


  • 2 ounces of gin
  • 1 ounce of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon of grenadine syrup
  • A dash of absinthe or Pernod
  • An orange slice for garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour all ingredients into the shaker.
  3. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with the orange slice or an orange peel.

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Last Updated:

July 9, 2024