What Is In A Brass Monkey?

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If you are a fan of cocktails, you might have come across the term “Brass Monkey” before. This popular drink has gained quite a reputation over the years, and it’s worth exploring what exactly goes into making this refreshing beverage. In this article, we will delve into the ingredients and preparation of a Brass Monkey cocktail, along with some interesting variations to try out.

Origin and History

The Brass Monkey cocktail is believed to have originated in the United States during the 1970s. It gained popularity through the Beastie Boys’ song “Brass Monkey,” which paid homage to the drink. The lyrics of the song describe the cocktail as a combination of three specific ingredients, which we will discuss in detail below.

The Ingredients

The classic Brass Monkey recipe calls for three simple ingredients: vodka, orange juice, and dark rum. The combination of these flavors creates a delightful and tangy taste that is perfect for a warm summer day or a party with friends. Let’s take a closer look at each of these components:


Vodka is a staple spirit in many cocktails, and the Brass Monkey is no exception. It provides a smooth and neutral base that allows the other flavors to shine through. You can use any high-quality vodka of your choice to make this cocktail.

Orange Juice

The second key ingredient in a Brass Monkey is orange juice. It adds a refreshing and citrusy element to the drink, balancing the strong flavors of the alcohol. Opt for freshly squeezed orange juice for the best taste, but store-bought options work well too.

Dark Rum

To give the Brass Monkey its unique kick, dark rum is added to the mix. The rich and robust flavors of the rum complement the vodka and orange juice, creating a harmonious blend. Choose a dark rum with a distinct character to enhance the overall taste of the cocktail.


Now that we know the key ingredients, let’s talk about how to prepare a Brass Monkey cocktail. It’s a relatively straightforward process that requires minimal effort:

Step 1: Fill a Glass

Start by filling a highball glass or a similar tall glass with ice cubes. This will keep your drink chilled and refreshing.

Step 2: Add the Vodka

Pour one part vodka into the glass. The exact measurement will depend on your personal preference and the size of the glass.

Step 3: Pour in the Orange Juice

Next, add two parts of fresh orange juice to the glass. Adjust the quantity based on your taste preference and the strength of the other ingredients.

Step 4: Finish with Dark Rum

To complete the Brass Monkey, gently pour one part of dark rum over the other ingredients in the glass. This will create a layered effect and add depth to the flavors.

Step 5: Stir and Garnish

Give the cocktail a gentle stir to mix the ingredients together. You can garnish it with a slice of orange or a cherry on top for an extra touch of elegance.


While the classic Brass Monkey recipe is delightful on its own, there are several variations you can experiment with to suit your taste preferences:

1. Tropical Brass Monkey

Add a splash of pineapple juice to the original recipe to give it a tropical twist. This variation adds a hint of sweetness and enhances the overall fruity profile of the drink.

2. Spiced Brass Monkey

If you enjoy spicy flavors, consider adding a dash of cinnamon or ginger to your Brass Monkey. This variation adds warmth and complexity to the cocktail, making it perfect for cozy evenings.

3. Frozen Brass Monkey

To enjoy a frozen treat, blend the original Brass Monkey recipe with ice cubes until you achieve a smooth and slushy consistency. This variation is ideal for hot summer days when you need a refreshing drink to cool down.


The Brass Monkey cocktail is a classic and versatile drink that can be enjoyed on various occasions. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or try out a variation, this cocktail is sure to impress your taste buds. So gather your ingredients, mix them up, and savor the delightful flavors of a Brass Monkey!