The Man Behind The “Monkey Gland”

Today is the birthday of Serge Voronoff.

Voronoff has very little to do with cocktails. He was a doctor, a French surgeon of Russian extraction.


He is best known (and really only remembered today) for one thing — a surgery he performed which now has a cocktail named after it.

Voronoff pioneered “the technique of grafting monkey testicle tissue onto the testicles of men for purportedly therapeutic purposes while working in France in the 1920s and 1930s.”

“As his work fell out of favor, he went from being highly respected to a subject of ridicule. Other doctors, and the public at large, quickly distanced themselves from Voronoff, pretending they had never had any interest in the grafting techniques.”

You can read more about him here.

It is from his life’s work that today we have a cocktail named the “Monkey Gland” — a gin and absinthe delight with orange and grenadine flavors.

Monkey Gland:
The Monkey Gland was created in the 1920s by Harry MacElhone, owner of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France.

Here we have Imbibe Magazine‘s recipe:
•1 1/2 oz. gin
•1 1/2 oz. fresh orange juice
•1 tsp. grenadine
•1 tsp. simple syrup
•1 tsp. absinthe

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled glass.

[Adapted from Barflies and Cocktails by Harry MacElhone (1927)]

I’ve also read that the Monkey Gland was created in April 1923 by Frank Meier, at the Ritz Hotel, Paris.

More About The Monkey Gland: Cocktails
Art Of Drink

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