The Brass Monkey Cocktail May Not Be What You Think It Is

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When the Beastie Boys released the track “Brass Monkey” in 1986, most people assumed they were rapping about a homemade combo of malt liquor and orange juice—mixed together in a 40 oz malt liquor bottle—that went by the name Brass Monkey back in the day. But in a 2014 interview with Studio 360’s Sean Rameswaram, the Beastie’s Mike D said no, it wasn’t OJ and Olde English they were singing about, but a combination of dark rum, vodka, and orange juice, pre-mixed in a bottle, and launched by the Heublein company of Hartford, CT., in 1971. 

While the dark rum no doubt made Heublein’s version of the Monkey more funky, this version uses white rum for a more seamless fit with the OJ. (There’s supposedly yet another spin that uses gin, triple sec, sour mix, orange juice, and grapefruit juice, but it’s probably best left in the cocktail Dark Ages, where it originated.)

Here’s the complete recipe:

Ingredients |

  • 1 oz white rum
  • 1 oz vodka
  • Fresh orange juice, to top
  • Orange wheel, for garnish
Method |
  • Add rum and vodka to a Highball glass filled with ice.
  • Top with orange juice and stir.
  • Garnish with an orange wheel.

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