Monkey Man

Jim Kearns, The Happiest Hour | New York

To explore the overlap between the worlds of drinks and music, we challenged bartenders to translate a song of their choice from a given genre into cocktail form. Here, Jim Kearns takes on reggae.

As Kearns explains of the inspiration behind the drink: “The idea came from the fact that I have always tasted a strong banana note on Tennessee whiskey, and I thought it might be a fun bridge to the realm of tiki, a genre in which American whiskey is not the most frequently used spirit…The cocktail came quickly, with [Brian] Miller suggesting the vanilla, the El Dorado 15, and the name.”


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces whiskey, preferably George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky
  • 1/2 ounce aged rum, preferably El Dorado 15 year
  • 1/2 ounce Giffard Banane du Brésil
  • 1/4 ounce vanilla syrup (see Editor's Note)
  • 1/2 ounce Spices #4 (cinnamon syrup)
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice

Garnish: banana chip

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin and shake with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with a banana chip.
Editor's Note

Vanilla Syrup:
3 vanilla beans
1 pound white granulated sugar
1 quart water

Slice the beans lengthwise, exposing the seeds. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours before using.

Tagged: reggae