Ginuary 29th: Monkey Gland.

I have so many things to say about today’s choice that I don’t quite know where to begin, so let’s wait until I’m drunk to write it all out. Here’s the drink!

Monkey Gland

  • 50ml gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
  • 30ml fresh orange juice
  • 2 drops absinthe
  • 5ml grenadine

Shake well over ice, double strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe.

Nice placemat, tell me more!

That was easy. Now let’s talk about how I got here.

Back late last year I was recapping the first four Ginuarys on instagram, in both an effort to flesh out the new account and a way to hype myself up for the new month and try to maybe sorta kinda be a little bit planned, as opposed to previous years. Both ideas worked, much to my delight. But in recapping and reliving the past months, I discovered a few glaring holes in my history of Ginuary. I’ve done a few drinks inspired by or expanded on classic drinks, without blogging those classic drinks themselves. The Southside was one, and I hit that up earlier this month.

Monkey Gland was another. Way back during the first Ginuary, I had a Monkey Taxonomy at the now-defunct Salon bar in Brisbane. It was an “improved” version, a riff of the classic, with blood orange juice, a grenadine glaze, a big fat frozen plum, a very large and impressive block of ice. The drink came served inside a latex glove, and you snipped a finger off to pour it into its glass. If you know the origin of the Monkey Gland cocktail, this all makes more sense: the drink is named after a surgical technique of grafting monkey testicle tissue into humans. Yes, you read correctly. The procedure was vogue in the 1920s, and the drink came from that same decade.

But to this day I’d never given its predecessor a day of Ginuary. It almost fell by the wayside this year, too… until the fabulous Gin Monkey sent me a copy of her beautiful new book, the Periodic Table of Cocktails. I’ve been slowly amassing a collection of cocktail books, and those written by fellow bloggers are personal favourites before I’ve even read them, to be honest. Monkey’s combines cocktails and science in a wonderful way of reflecting two facets of her life. Straight from the Monkey’s mouth: The idea behind the book is to take the concept and principles behind the periodic table (that orders all of the known elements that make up the world by atomic number and therefore chemical properties and behaviour), and apply them to the topic of cocktails. The book is therefore structured around the table that sits at the front of the book (and at the back in a fold out colour poster), and the cocktail recipes within are ordered as such.

Speaking as someone fairly geeky, I’m tickled by the way each of the drinks was meticulously chosen for this book and sits so well in its element. Naturally I thumbed through in search of gin drinks, but with over a hundred recipes, this book covers all bases—no matter what your preferred spirit (and individual spirit preferences are very easy to navigate to using the index at the back). Each included drink has a short spiel, and most are classics. It’s a beautiful introduction to cocktails for a new home bartender, and a classy addition for the rest of us.

For Ginuary, though, it was straight to the index for gin. I worked my way down the list, ticking off each one I’d done. I started to worry. But wait. Of course. Monkey Gland from the Gin Monkey. It was almost too perfect.

Ginuary 14th: Tatty Devine Gin Brooch.

It’s been a while since I’ve done this category! I do feel like it’s a bit of a cop-out but at the same time I like to share exciting gin-related finds and it’s also a good excuse to enable me to buy things.

This brooch was actually a gift from my sister a couple of Christmases ago. According to the jeweller’s website, the brooch is made using high quality French enamel techniques, so the white label is smooth and shiny and the green bottle areas have a lovely speckled texture. It was always a treasured item of mine but really hit the forefront of my mind toward the end of last year when the gallery I work for opened an exhibition of the artists who inspired the pin.

  

Gilbert and George are an artist (singular) who I didn’t ever really look into when I first set my eyes on their Tatty Devine collection; all I knew was that the collection featured gin bottles and I wanted it. Maybe not the cuff links, but the brooch and necklace, sure. I blame my Tatty Devine interest on Noel Fielding, but that’s another story for another day.

So back in November, Gilbert and George’s exhibition opened at the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania. It’s a fairly sizeable exhibition, with works spanning their entire career. Back in the early to mid-70s, after their first substantial success, they made a series of works based around drinking (because they had money and could afford to drink). A couple of the drinking series pieces are at MONA and feature Gordons. “Gordons makes us drunk” comes chanting out of the video rooms every hour or so. It still took me a few days to put two and two together; I can’t remember what exactly it was that finally caused me to twig but one evening after work I dug my brooch out and right there on the back were the same names! What larks! And a beautiful excuse to wear my gin brooch to work every day. 

If you feel any inclination to buy me the necklace, I won’t complain.

Ginuary 15th: Breakfast Martini.

This year is the first year of Ginuary where I’ve been presented with some fairly well-known gin concoctions, done a quick check to see if they’ve been already ticked off the list, and discovered that they haven’t been. Unblogged territory. The gin sour on the 5th was a startling discovery, and more recently I realised I hadn’t yet done a breakfast martini yet, either.

But thank gosh for the latter, because had I already done one, it surely would have been with a lesser marmalade. You see, I’ve only just procured a jar of joy and wonder. What am I talking about? I’m talking about Four Pillars Gin’s Breakfast Negroni.

 
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What’s up with this marmalade? Does it have gin in it? Not exactly, no—but that’s part of the beauty of it. Breakfast Negroni is made from the oranges that Four Pillars use in their distillation for their delicious Rare Dry Gin. Yep, whole oranges make up one of their ten botanicals! And the guys got very “waste not, want not”… and Breakfast Negroni was born. Now, it’s named so because it does contain a splash of Campari, and I guess technically it contains gin, if the distillate had to pass through the oranges-cum-marmalade to become gin.

But it didn’t seem right to just have marmalade on toast for a day of Ginuary (though I won’t lie, I would have totally done this if I could have justified to my brain that this was absolutely a gin product, not a byproduct…). Then I narrowed my eyes, did a quick search through the site, and—baffled and yet delighted—made myself a breakfast martini.

Breakfast Martini

  • 60ml gin
  • 22.5ml fresh lemon juice
  • 22.5ml Cointreau or triple sec
  • 1tsp orange marmalade

 
Shake ingredients with ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a coin-sized piece of orange rind or a strip of zest, first squeezed over the drink. (I also quickly rimmed the glass with the squeezed rind.)

 

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For a drink with no sugar syrup, the breakfast martini is surprisingly sweet, but also nice and tart on the tastebuds. It doesn’t have to be a brunch cocktail, and yet because of the marmalade ingredient it’s often on brunch cocktail lists. I’m not complaining. I had to stick to this trend and have mine with breakfast (marmalade on toast, of course).

Ginuary 15th: Claudia Pearson cocktail ticking tea towel.

Adding the “gin paraphernalia” category to Ginuary has opened up a whole new world for the month—a whole new world in which I allow myself to spend money on homewares. This is a boon as I’ve discovered the older I get, the more excited over homewares I become.

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Tonight I’ve pulled out my new Claudia Pearson cocktail tea towel and I’m going to dry up with it. This makes drying up fun. I got the tea towel at the Brooklyn Winter Flea. I couldn’t bear to not own it, you know? Here’s an etsy link so you can own it, too.

Ginuary 10th: Gin Fizz candle.

I’m literally in the air right now. I’ve never queued a Ginuary post before and you may consider this cheating but I’m mid-flight from NYC to Sydney via Shanghai and quite possibly drinking terrible canned gin (if China Eastern even offer it), so don’t give up on me, but I drank a shitty canned G&T last Ginuary 1st so I couldn’t commit to that idea for today.

So here is my clever backup option. A candle I bought at Urban Outfitters in Manhattan. I’m actually pretty chuffed with it, it smells fresh and lemony and it will take pride of place on my coffee table once I get home.

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If I ever get home…

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