4/09/2012 09:15:00 AM

The Best Thing We Ate Last Night: Cocktails at Monkey Bar

Graydon Carter recently brought in a team of heavyweights to up the ante at his old-timey Midtown eatery Monkey Bar, and he received some acclaim after Damon Wise introduced a menu of fresh farm-to-table grub and Belinda Chang spruced up service in the front of the house (she has since moved on). We dropped by this weekend and found that the real star wasn't the cuisine or the service, it was the cocktail list. Carter also enlisted Julie Reiner of Lani Kai and Clover Club to do the drinks and her selection of obscure classics and inspired new libations did not disappoint.

One standout was The Monkey Gland, which we later learned is a classic cocktail from the '20s. It's mixed with gin, orange juice and absinthe and is named for the surgical process of - brace yourselves - transplanting the tissue from monkey testicals into humans to promote longevity. Yep, apparently that was a thing during the Jazz Age. Not sure how that worked out, but hopefully Graybee-Baby's recently surgery job at this joint will help it be an institution for years to come.

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