Monkey Gland

The Nosey Chef likes to find funny tales behind the etymology of food and drink, but rarely does a beauty like this land in our laps. The Monkey Gland was created by Harry MacElhone of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. We have written about MacElhone before, and he is the father of many cocktails, chiefly because of his book Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails.

The Monkey Gland was named after a ridiculous medical procedure promoted by the clearly insane Russian physician Serge Voronoff (1866–1951). This crazy quack decided (all on his own) that grafting bits of money bollocks onto the nutsacks of his elderly patients would re-invigorate them, and delay the onset of their eventual death.

Serge Voronoff (1866–1951) – not right in the head

The procedure involved microplaning slivers of monkey testicles, and sewing them onto the scrotums of millionaires. It was all the rage in the 1920s, and it took until the 1940s for an actual transplant surgeon to point out that graft rejection would kill the monkey parts and result in nothing more than an unnecessary scar in an intimate place. British surgeon Dr Kenneth Walker said of the practice”

“No better than the methods of witches and magicians.”

In this classic cocktail, gin is grafted onto orange juice, coloured to raw flesh with grenadine, and given an appropriately medical hint with a tiny bit of absinthe. Have a bowl of monkey nuts on the side to complete the effect.

Monkey Gland

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Serves: 1
Cooking Time: None


  • 50ml gin
  • 30ml fresh orange juice
  • 3.5ml grenadine
  • 3.5ml simple syrup
  • 2 drops of absinthe



Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a slip of orange peel.

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