Zamboanga Monkey Tail Zamboanga Monkey Tail Cocktail Image


  • 2 oz. dark Jamaican rum
  • 1/2 oz. kirschwasser (dry cherry brandy)
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • Dash of orange bitters
  • 1/2 tsp. simple syrup and 1/2 tsp. grenadine (1 teaspoon of straight grenadine will work just as well)

Shake with crushed ice, strain into Collins glass (or tiki mug) 2/3 full of shaved ice and garnish with lime shell and mint.

from" Esquire Drinks" by David Wondrich

Esquire Drinks is a book I recommend anyone pick up if they can. Even though it was originally published as recently as 2002, it's been out of print for some time. Copies can be found from online used book sellers, and it's well worth seeking out. I came by my copy via a flea market, and it's not the first time I've found a nice bar guide amongst the offerings at thrift stores, used-book emporiums and garage sales.

What does this have to do with the Zamboanga Monkey Tail? Aside from having an eye-catching name, it's got an interesting roster of ingredients. Most interesting of all however, is the short story that accompanies its listing in ED:

"Finding ourselves one day in Oxnard, California with a few minutes to kill, we wandered into the Salvation Army store. There among the yellowing self-help books and coverless romance novels we spied a battered copy of Trader Vic's 1946 Book of Food and Drink. This fell out, written in a clear hand on the bottle-stained half of an airmail envelope."

I so desperately want this to be a true story. I love the idea that this recipe was unearthed by a chance grab in a Salvation Army store. It just seems so appropriate.

I also like the symmetry of the recipe being initially found while browsing used books, and then my finding it reproduced in a book that I also acquired second-hand. It makes me think that cocktailing and urban archaeology are inextricably linked.

In any case, I gave this one a shot. Below the recipe, Mr. Wondrich notes, "It's not half bad."...which usually signals to me that it could be better. After knocking one back, I realized there was a whole monkey/Darwin thing at play here, and that it had become my duty to usher this perfectly serviceable (though unremarkable) drink into the next stage of its development:

Zamboanga Monkey Tail (evolution)


  • 1 oz. Oronoco rum
  • 1 oz. Ron Matusalem Gran Reserva rum
  • 1/2 oz. Schladerer kirschwasser
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1 dash Regan's orange bitters

Shake everything with ice and strain into double old-fashioned glass (or tiki mug) filled with crushed ice. Garnish with Maraschino cherries and pineapple leaves on a bamboo skewer. Hang a small plastic monkey on rim of glass.

~ A Dr. Bamboo original creation

I think this variation is a significantly better drink, with a bit more depth and roundness of flavors. As always, I encourage you to experiment extensively on your own. Try different rums, adjust your sweets & sours, tinker with proportions and so forth. Adapt and change as necessary.

Think of it as drink evolution.

Bottoms up!

~ Dr. Bamboo