Brass Monkey


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Introduction to the Brass Monkey Cocktail

Welcome to the vibrant world of the Brass Monkey, a cocktail that marries the warmth of dark rum with the zesty brightness of orange juice. This drink is a testament to simplicity, offering a refreshing taste that’s perfect for any casual occasion. Let’s dive into the essence of this classic concoction.

The Brass Monkey is more than just a catchy tune from the 80s; it’s a beverage that stands the test of time. With its easy preparation and accessible ingredients, it’s a staple for both beginners and seasoned mixologists. Whether you’re hosting a party or unwinding after a long day, the Brass Monkey is a delightful choice.

Its history is as intriguing as its flavor profile, with various theories about its origin adding to its mystique. In this post, we’ll explore everything from the Brass Monkey’s rich history to tips on elevating your cocktail experience.

Key Facts About the Brass Monkey

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 14% ABV (28 proof)
  • Calories: Around 180 kcal per serving
  • Preferred Glass: Highball glass for the perfect serve
  • Typical Garnish: Orange slice to accentuate the citrus notes

Interesting Facts about the Brass Monkey

Did you know that the Brass Monkey has a pop culture connection? Despite popular belief, the cocktail predates the Beastie Boys’ song. Additionally, there’s an alternative version of the drink that combines a malt beverage with orange juice, showcasing the cocktail’s versatility.

Brass Monkey Cocktail Preparation

Tasting Notes for the Brass Monkey

The Brass Monkey is a harmonious blend of the deep, molasses-like flavors of dark rum and the bright, acidic notes of fresh orange juice. This cocktail is a crowd-pleaser, appealing to those who enjoy a balance of sweet and tart.

It’s an ideal choice for summer barbecues, beach parties, or any laid-back gathering. The Brass Monkey’s refreshing nature also makes it a perfect accompaniment to a sunny brunch spread.

History of the Brass Monkey

The origins of the Brass Monkey cocktail are somewhat hazy, with several anecdotes and theories contributing to its storied past. Some suggest that the drink was a favorite among sailors, while others believe it emerged from the prohibition era’s speakeasies.

Regardless of its true beginnings, the Brass Monkey has cemented its place in cocktail culture. It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of simple, well-balanced drinks that don’t require elaborate ingredients or techniques.

Brass Monkey Ingredients

  • Dark Rum: 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) – Provides a rich, caramel-like foundation.
  • Orange Juice: 3 oz (90 ml) – Adds a fresh, citrusy contrast.
  • Ice Cubes: Enough to fill the glass – Ensures the drink is crisp and chilled.

Did you know?

The Brass Monkey cocktail’s name has nothing to do with its ingredients but has become synonymous with easy-going fun, partly thanks to the Beastie Boys’ hit song.

Brass Monkey Cocktail Ingredients

Brass Monkey Method

Creating the perfect Brass Monkey is a straightforward process that requires attention to detail. Start by filling a highball glass with ice cubes to the brim, ensuring your drink stays cool.

Next, pour the dark rum over the ice, allowing it to settle and chill. Follow this with a generous helping of orange juice, pouring it slowly to create a layered effect.

Finally, stir the mixture gently to combine the flavors without diluting the drink too much. If desired, garnish with a fresh orange slice to enhance the presentation and add an extra zesty aroma.

Serving Suggestion for the Brass Monkey

The highball glass is the vessel of choice for the Brass Monkey, its tall and slender shape allowing for the perfect ratio of ice to liquid. This ensures that the drink remains chilled without becoming watered down too quickly.

For garnish, a fresh orange slice not only adds visual appeal but also complements the citrus notes of the orange juice. It’s a simple yet effective way to elevate the overall drinking experience.

Elevating the Brass Monkey

  • Use freshly squeezed orange juice for a brighter, more authentic flavor profile.
  • Experiment with aged dark rums to introduce more complex, woody notes to the cocktail.
  • Consider adding a dash of bitters to add depth and balance to the sweetness of the rum and orange juice.

These professional tips will help transform your Brass Monkey from a simple mixer to a sophisticated beverage.

Elevated Brass Monkey Cocktail

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Brass Monkey

If dark rum isn’t your preference, light rum can be a suitable substitute, offering a milder flavor. For a non-alcoholic version, ginger ale provides a spicy twist while maintaining the cocktail’s refreshing essence.

Similar cocktails include the Screwdriver, which swaps rum for vodka, and the Tequila Sunrise, which introduces grenadine for a sweet and colorful alternative.

Add a Twist to the Brass Monkey

For a modern take on the Brass Monkey, infuse the rum with spices like cinnamon or vanilla. Another variation involves adding a splash of coconut cream for a tropical flair.

Alternatively, muddle fresh herbs like mint or basil in the glass before adding the other ingredients for an aromatic twist.

Preferred Liquors for the Brass Monkey

When it comes to selecting a dark rum for the Brass Monkey, brands like Myers’s Original Dark or Appleton Estate offer the robust flavors that complement the orange juice perfectly.

These rums are known for their quality and depth, making them ideal choices for crafting an exceptional Brass Monkey.

Similar Cocktails to the Brass Monkey

If you’re a fan of the Brass Monkey, you might also enjoy the Mai Tai, which features rum, lime juice, and almond syrup. The Dark ‘n’ Stormy, with its combination of dark rum and ginger beer, is another comparable option.

Both of these cocktails share the Brass Monkey’s rum base and balance of sweetness and acidity.

Food Pairings to Go with the Brass Monkey

The Brass Monkey pairs wonderfully with light appetizers like shrimp cocktail or citrus-infused ceviche. For a heartier option, consider jerk chicken skewers to complement the rum’s rich flavors.

On the sweeter side, tropical fruit salads or lemon tarts can provide a delightful contrast to the cocktail’s citrus notes.

Brass Monkey FAQs

Can I make a Brass Monkey with light rum? Yes, light rum can be used for a milder taste.

Is the Brass Monkey suitable for large parties? Absolutely, its simple recipe makes it easy to prepare in batches.

How can I make my Brass Monkey stand out? Use high-quality, aged rum and fresh orange juice for the best flavor.

What are some non-alcoholic alternatives? Ginger ale or sparkling water with a splash of orange juice make great substitutes.

Can I prepare the Brass Monkey in advance? It’s best served fresh, but you can premix the rum and orange juice and add ice just before serving.

Brass Monkey_001

Brass Monkey

The Brass Monkey is a simple, yet classic cocktail that combines the rich flavors of dark rum with the citrus punch of orange juice. It’s a refreshing and easy-to-make drink that's perfect for any casual gathering.
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Calories 180 kcal


  • Highball glass
  • stirring rod


  • 1 1/2 oz Dark Rum
  • 3 oz Orange Juice
  • Ice Cubes Enough to fill the glass


  • Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour the dark rum over the ice.
  • Top with orange juice.
  • Stir gently to combine.
  • Garnish with an orange slice if desired.


The Brass Monkey is also sometimes made by mixing equal parts of a malt beverage and orange juice. The cocktail's name is thought to have come from the Beastie Boys song of the same name, although its origins are unrelated to the drink itself.
Keyword Brass Monkey, Citrus Cocktail, Classic Cocktail, Cocktail, dark rum, Easy Recipe, Fruit Cocktail, Mixer, orange juice, party drink, refreshment, rum cocktail, simple cocktail

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