A few things about one of our Montreal neighbors, Nadine. First of all, she’s everything you could want in a neighbor, and the fact that she’ll probably read this blog post soon isn’t why I say so. She and her live-in, Francois, invited us over for wine only a few days after we moved here, and the alcohol’s been flowing ever since. We also do things like borrow irons and ice-cream makers and pick up each other’s mail when needed and get together to eat, not just drink, including breakfast, the least inebriated meal of the day. But imbibing’s still what we do most and best, and as Nadine has reminded us many, many times, she is happy to serve as our cocktailing guinea pig whenever she’s needed.
The only problem with that is, Nadine tends towards girlier drinks. To her credit, she’s always willing to give something a try. Usually when we have her and Francois over for cocktails, we start her out with something in the Manhattan vein, which she sips gamely until we pick up on the dissastifaction in her expression and make her admit it’s too strong. When there’s cranberry juice in the house, I’ll reward her with a World’s Greatest Cosmopolitan. Then I’ll use her to road-test all the lollipop stuff I’d rather not drink myself.
Well, the other day, we found Nadine’s nadir de sucre in The Monkey Gland, a cocktail recipe that, to taste it, oughta have found a niche for itself in the Screwdriver/Sex on the Beach/Cosmo trend of 80s/90s-era “mixology.” So why didn’t it? My guess is, anyone who might actually enjoyed a Monkey Gland probably 1) dismisses gin out of hand as “blech,” and 2) isn’t likely to be standing around a bar stocked with Benedictine. Plus, 3) Monkey Gland isn’t quite as much slutty-fun to say as any of the above.
Also, 4) Perhaps the Monkey Gland was the Cosmo of its day. To quote Difford’s Encyclopedia of Cocktails, the Monkey Gland was “created in the 1920s by Harry MacElhone at his Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. The Monkey Gland takes its name from the work of Dr. Serge Voronoff, who attempted to delay the aging process by transplanting monkey testicles.” (Um… transplanting them to where?)
I’m picturing Marion Cotillard in Midnight in Paris, who probably would’ve been served the original Monkey Gland recipe, which used absinthe instead of Benedictine.
The gin’s herbaceousness is what lends the modern-day Monkey Gland that amount of credence it does have, and the Benedictine in there’s not bad either. In the spirit of always trying to provide user-friendliness to y’all readers, keep this recipe in the back of your mind for delicate flowers, pure knocking-around-the-liquor-cabinet silly times or your youngest cousin’s upcoming
17th 21st birthday.
The Monkey Gland
1 1/2 ounces Bombay Sapphire gin
3 dashes Benedictine
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
3 dashes grenadine
Use an even more herbal gin than Bombay, such as Hendrick’s or Bulldog, if you’ve got it.