THE MONKEY GLAND

If nothing else, this one with the embarrassing name is an attention-getter!

Nowadays, if you’re an adult male who feels the need for a little help in the arena of “male enhancement”, you reach for one of the blue pills. In the 1920’s, if you needed a little va va voom in the bedroom, you went to see Dr. Voronoff!

And here it is: the virility-booster named in his honor!

A first sip reveals the drink to be floral, herbal, bright, acidic, and refreshing; it’s a supremely enjoyable cocktail, with a most odious name.


The roots

The Monkey Gland, a classic drink, is a gin-based cocktail blended with orange juice and enlivened by grenadine and Pernod. Harry MacElhone, owner of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, is credited with mixing the first Monkey Gland in the 1920s.

His inspiration: the work of Serge Voronoff, a Russian who experimented with the sexual organs of monkeys for rejuvenation. Serge Voronoff was making a fortune transplanting monkey parts into rich old men who believed the procedure would help them regain lost virility. “Experiments in rejuvenation,” as McElhone euphemistically put it.

And it seems that the Parisians found Voronoff’s lurid experiments intriguing, or at least amusing, and they were perfectly willing to call for them across Harry’s bar. By 1923, McElhone’s Monkey Gland Cocktail was the rage of Paris.

Did Voronoff’s treatment work? No, not really—and one can only guess how the monkeys felt about the whole thing.

A bygone fashionable drink, a reliable rejuvenator, fortunately, the cocktail still does the trick.

Order a Monkey Gland by its ingredients rather than its name. Older bartenders may have a flash of recognition, but younger ones will be clueless.


Monkey Gland2The makin’s
2 parts gin
1 1/2 parts fresh orange juice
2 dashes of grenadine
2 dashes of Pernod or Benedictine
Twist of orange peel

The drill
Shake the gin, orange juice, grenadine, and Pernod very well with ice
Then strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with orange peel

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