Brass Monkey (cocktail)
In the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s the Heublein Company produced the premixed cocktail labeled Brass Monkey. Heublein pre-mixed bottled cocktails were fairly inexpensive and provided a portable alternative to regular mixed drinks. Heublein was based in Stamford, Connecticut, and had production facilities in the Hartford, Connecticut area. The Brass Monkey cocktail was available in bottles from half pint up to 750 ml. During the time Heublein produced Brass Monkey, liquor stores carried mostly beer, wine, and hard alcohol; very few premixed alternatives were available.
Steve Doniger, an advertising executive, named the drink after an alleged World War II spy named H. E. Rasske. Allan Kaufman, who crafted a series of stories about the spy, created the ad campaign using an old photo of his father as Rasske’s image.
In 1982, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company acquired Heublein Inc. for $1.4 billion. RJR Nabisco sold the division to Grand Metropolitan in 1987. Grand Metropolitan merged with Guinness to form Diageo in 1997.
Sales and popularity of Heublein's Brass Monkey spirit cocktail increased in the 1980s after the release of the Beastie Boys's song of the same name. It was widely and incorrectly believed that the Beastie Boys were referring to a different drink made from a 40-ounce container of malt liquor mixed with orange juice ("forty" is mentioned in the lyrics); however, Mike D has publicly confirmed that the premixed Heublein cocktail was their muse.
After several years of absence from the market the Brass Monkey premixed cocktail has recently been re-released as The Club Brass Monkey. Produced by The Club Distilling Company of Stamford Ct., Brass Monkey is currently sold in liquor stores along with other premixed alcoholic beverages under the name The Club Cocktails owned by Diageo.