Dan Gentile, staff writer, National Food/Drink
University of Texas '06
I was so clueless as a young-but-not-underaged college chap that I didn't even know this drink's proper name. For me, vodka and orange juice needed no abbreviation. It was the one tool in my mixed drink toolbelt and basically the PB&J of college consumption: a balanced liquid meal that was way more effective because I wasn't eating many other balanced meals.
When considering what first drew me to this drink, I must admit I wasn't much of a brew crusher for my first few years. My naïve taste buds had yet to learn the joy of the dirty banana peel flavors of Lone Star, but what I could get behind was a toxic-tasting version of what I drank alongside my morning cereal. And when I got the proportions just right (three parts OJ, one part vodka, two parts denial), I could swear that I couldn't even taste the alcohol, which is a refrain that's still repeated by inexperienced drinkers to this very day.
The Brass Monkey
Kevin Alexander, executive editor, National Food/Drink
Trinity College ’03
You know how I knew I was cool in college? Because I used to buy those crappy gallon plastic jugs of the most impure, from-concentrate brands of orange juice, pour out half the gallon for my homies, or into a conveniently located sink, and fill the rest up with cheap, shitty beer. It was my own version of a brass monkey, a poor man’s mimosa, and -- because no one I knew could tell me different -- I genuinely thought I’d invented it, and was some sort of a tastemaker. I’m not joking. I actually KIND OF thought that Cool Hunting would just randomly pop by my dorm room as I was “making my magical elixir” and offer to pay me in patent leather Bapes and those Kaws toys with the X’s for eyes just to pose with my drink for a profile and photo shoot. “I don’t know where the idea originally came from,” I’d say during the interview portion, remaining pretty humble. “I’m my own muse.”
Suffice to say, during my junior year abroad in Australia, any idea I was original was stamped out like the butt end of those really cool cigarillos I sometimes pretended to smoke. Because it was a Tuesday, we were day drinking, and I was ready to show all these kids from University of Michigan and Wisconsin and Penn State my sick concoction. I bought the juice, and the beer (Tooheys New!), and started to pour it out when one of the girls stopped me. “Wait, what are you doing?” she asked. “Making my own secret drink,” I replied, probably even winking. “You mean a brass monkey,” she said, all of a sudden looking extremely bored. “We’ve been making those forever. Except we use 40s because we're not [REDACTED, BECAUSE IT HURT MY FEELINGS AND ALSO IS SLANG FOR CATS].” Then she turned and went outside, likely to make out with an actual Australian, since they were all kind of jacked, and rakishly handsome, and didn’t invent bullshit watered-down versions of drinks that have existed forever.