Monkey Gland

[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

In 2008, if you're an adult male who feels the need for a little, um, assistance in the intimacy department, you reach for one of the pharmaceuticals you see advertised during football games. In 1928, if you needed a little vavoom in the bedroom, you went to see Dr. Voronoff.

So popular was Voronoff's vitality procedure in the 1920s that it inspired the creation of the Monkey Gland, a cocktail named for the rather sensitive part of an unfortunate simian's anatomy that Voronoff surgically implanted into his eager patients.

This is a drink where spending the time and money to get your hands on the right ingredients makes all the difference. Fresh-squeezed orange juice is essential, and a quality grenadine—Stirrings makes a decent one, though it's quite simple to make your own—and an authentic absinthe really make the cocktail come together (though a substitute such as Herbsaint, Pernod or Ricard will also suffice).

Did Voronoff's treatment work? No, not really—and one can only guess how the monkeys felt about the whole thing. Fortunately, the cocktail still does the trick.

About the author: Paul Clarke blogs about cocktails at The Cocktail Chronicles and writes regularly on spirits and cocktails for Imbibe magazine. He lives in Seattle, where he works as a writer and magazine editor.

Monkey Gland

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes 1 cocktail
Active time:3 minutes
Total time:3 minutes
Special equipment:Cocktail shaker and strainer


  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • 1 teaspoon absinthe


  1. 1

    Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


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