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Brass Monkey Cocktail Recipe

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The Brass Monkey sounds like a cool drink, and it’s actually a very popular brunch option ! There’s even a song named after this drink, which spiked the drink’s popularity.

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brass monkey

What is the Brass Monkey?

The Brass Monkey is essentially a modified Screwdriver, with a splash of dark rum. It uses less orange juice than the Screwdriver, and the overall effect is a deeper, more complex flavor. Back in the ’70s this drink came out as a pre-mixed, bottled cocktail, released by Heublein. perhaps due to its ease of access (ready-made) it gained some popularity, at least until the Beastie Boys released a song named after this cocktail in ’87. Then the Brass Monkey became even more popular, and it’s now easily found in most bars.

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Brass Monkey Cocktail Recipe

Ioana Ciuraru
A cool-sounding cocktail with a nice flavor.
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Servings 1


  • 1 oz dark rum
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 2 oz orange juice


  • Build in ice-filled Collins glass.
  • Add rum, vodka, then orange juice. Stir very well.


This is essentially a modified Screwdriver, and the dark rum may not be for everyone. If you're not sure about it, swap it for white rum.

When is this drink best ?

You can have a Brass Monkey whenever you’d have a a glass of orange juice, which is mostly on a warm summer afternoon. There is alcohol in this as well, which make the drink great for anything from brunch to dinner to a club to a pool party and anything else you could think of. 

My thoughts on Brass Monkey

I liked the Brass Monkey, the orange paired surprisingly well with the dark rum, but there was a little too much alcohol burn from both the vodka and the rum. Perhaps adding an extra ounce of orange juice would help. 

I have to admit the entire drink hinges on the quality of your oranges. Pre-made orange juice (carton) simply won’t have the zing and flavor necessary, and it has a bitter aftertaste that simply ruins everything. 

Freshly squeezed orange juice is a hit or miss, since it relies on the acidity and sweetness in the oranges you bought. To make sure you get good, juicy, flavorful, sweet oranges look for navel oranges. Those will guarantee you a good Brass Monkey (or Screwdriver, or Mimosa). Also make sure the juice is ice cold !

brass monkey making

If you like Brass Monkey, you might also like…

Screwdriver – the classic vodka and orange juice

Mimosa – a juicy mix of orange and sparkling wine

Madras – a mix of vodka, cranberry juice, and orange juice

Black Eyed Susan – strong spirits with pineapple and orange juice

Garibaldi – a mix of orange juice with Campari

Tequila Sunrise – tequila, OJ, and grenadine

Notes, substitutes, and tips

The Brass Monkey uses dark rum, since it relies on the funky factor. But if you think it might be too much, try making it with white rum. It’ll get a lighter color, but it might work better for some people.

If you want to amp up the flavor, consider adding 0.25 oz of simple syrup just to help things along. 

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