There is a theory that you can define eras of modern history by examining the advertisements of the day. That society’s perceived needs and their remedies say more about what the people were really thinking than the official record. If that’s true then it is safe to say we are in the age of the limp dick. Seriously, every third commercial asks “Do you struggle with erectile dysfunction?” There are so many that even if you are flying the flag at mostly full mast you begin to wonder, am I ok? When do I get to join the club and try one of the dazzling arrays of male enhancements? Well, this is not a new problem and today we are gonna mix up a drink inspired by one of the 20th century’s more interesting cures, the Monkey Gland.
This drink first appears in 1922, created by Harry Mcelhone of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, inspired by a “popular” procedure of the time promoted by Serge Voronoff to increase strength and virility. How, you ask? Well, by attaching monkey testicles to human testicles, as one does. The thing is Dr. Voronoff was not a quack, he was in fact a respected physician who had trained under a Nobel prize winning surgeon in the newly expanding field of organ transplantation. He hypothesized that hormones from these, one can only assume, “humanely harvested” monkey balls would prop up their human counterparts, putting the lead back in the pencil, so to speak. Yeah, that was a thing. So much a thing that it inspired a popular and surprisingly tasty drink of 1920’s Paris. How tasty? Let’s find out.
Grab a chilled coupe and give it a nice rinse of absinthe, I used Corsair’s Red Absinthe in an atomizer, so fancy, and set to the side. In your tins combine 1 ounce of fresh squeezed orange juice, 1/2 an ounce of grenadine and 2 ounces of gin, Corsair is my choice. Add ice and give it a good shake before double straining into that chilled coupe. Garnish with an orange peel and some mint. I really wanted to do something more phallic here, but good taste prevailed, at least for the photo.
So how is it? Well, for a drink inspired by surgically grafting monkey balls onto fellas who had to resort to loud mouthed braggadocio and putting larger wheels on their horseless carriages to feel adequate, it is not bad. The gin is smooth, the orange comes through nicely, the absinthe rinse gives it a base to counteract the super sweet grenadine. Yeah, I like it. If it had a better name this one might have been more popular. Seriously, “Do you want to get some monkey gland in your mouth” is a lousy pick up line, trust me I’ve tried it…a lot. So there you go, a decent drink with a terrible name. Might as well give it a shot, what have you got to lose but your time and a little dignity? Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.