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Pick Your Poison: Monk's offers sweet, strong signature in the Purple Monkey
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Pick Your Poison: Monk's offers sweet, strong signature in the Purple Monkey


When walking into the Monk’s locations dotted across southern Wisconsin and ordering the Purple Monkey, patrons may end up getting a little tipsier than they first thought.

A staple drink for more than 20 years, the Purple Monkey is a closely guarded secret among Monk’s staff. Jason Whiteye, longtime bar supervisor at Monk’s in the downtown Dells, will say little more than the flavor when asked to elaborate.

“It’s five different liquors, a little bit of other mix, we keep our recipe secret,” Whiteye said. “It’s got a little bit of banana and coconut to it.”

If pushed, Whiteye simply gives a little smile and says it’s a well-kept secret. He does say it’s a similar alcohol content to Long Island iced tea, but not at all a similar taste.

Monk’s offers its signature drink in either blended or on the rocks, although Whiteye says that the downtown Dells location traditionally serves it up blended, garnished with a lemon wedge and a paper umbrella.

Although the Purple Monkey packs a similar level of alcohol into a glass as a Long Island, it doesn’t have the same alcoholic punch. With a drink like a Long Island, you know it’s packing heat the second you take a sip.

The Purple Monkey has no such predilection. If you’re planning on enjoying some of these tropical beverages the next time you’re out at Monk’s, take a moment to remind yourself that there’s five different types of alcohol in your cup.

It may take your brain a reminder or two to get the message. On first sip, your palate is hit by a wave of banana and coconut that neatly disguises the cupful of liquor you’re drinking.

That initial blast of flavor continues throughout the drink, with the pervasive sweetness continuing to hide the high-octane cocktail you’re actually drinking. It’s difficult to detect what liquors are in the drink, especially since Whiteye pre-mixes the alcohol and fruit juice so they get to blend together and hide any strong alcoholic flavors.

Because of that lack of alcoholic flavors, the Purple Monkey goes down smooth as silk. If you want, customers can order the cocktail in a signature cup that reads “I did the Purple Monkey!” Customers can also purchase a t-shirt to commemorate the night.

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