a. (context idiomatic of the weather English) very cold.
n. a metal stand that formerly held cannon balls on sailing ships
Brass Monkey may refer to:
- Brass monkey (colloquialism), as used by many English speakers to indicate extremes, especially of cold temperature
- Brass Monkey (film), a 1948 film
- Brass Monkey (cocktail), an alcoholic drink
- Brass Monkey, a character in Salman Rushdie's 1981 novel Midnight's Children
Brass Monkey (band), an English folk band formed in 1982
- Brass Monkey, a 1983 album by this band
- Brass Monkeys, an 1984 Australian sitcom
- "Brass Monkey" (song), a song on the Beastie Boys' 1986 debut album Licensed to Ill
The phrase "cold enough to freeze the balls off (or on) a brass monkey" is a colloquial expression used by some English speakers. The reference to the testes (as the term balls is commonly understood to mean) of the brass monkey appears to be a 20th-century variant on the expression, prefigured by a range of references to other body parts, especially the nose and tail.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, small monkeys cast from the alloy brass were very common tourist souvenirs from China and Japan. They usually, but not always, came in a set of three representing the Three Wise Monkeys carved in wood above the Shrine of Toshogu in Nikkō, Japan. These monkeys were often cast with all three in a single piece. In other sets they were made singly. Although three was the usual number, some sets of monkeys added a fourth, with its hand covering its genitals. Old brass monkeys of this type are collectors' items. Michael Quinion, advisor to The Oxford English Dictionary and author of World Wide Words says "It's more than likely the term came from them".
Brass Monkey is a name given to a number of different cocktail recipes. As with many lesser-known cocktails that are named after colloquial expressions, there are widely differing recipes that share the same name.
The premixed cocktail labeled Brass Monkey was produced by the Heublein Company in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. 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. At the time that the Brass Monkey cocktail was produced, liquor stores carried mostly beer, wine, and hard alcohol; there were very few premixed alternatives.
The drink was named by Steve Doniger, an advertising executive, after an alleged World War II spy, named H. E. Rasske. The ad campaign was created by Allan Kaufman, who crafted a series of stories about the alleged spy using an old photo of his father as the image of Rasske.
Sales and popularity of Heublein's Brass Monkey spirit cocktail increased in the 1980s after the release of the Beastie Boys' 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. However, Mike D has publicly confirmed that the premixed Heublein cocktail was their muse.
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.
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.
"Brass Monkey" is a song by the New York Rap group Beastie Boys. It was a single released from their first album Licensed to Ill. It is also on the Beastie Boys' compilation album Solid Gold Hits. It samples "Bring It Here" by Wild Sugar. The song features the Roland TR-808 drum machine.
The song is named after an alcoholic drink of the same name, which is mentioned several times throughout the song.
The band originally consisted of Martin Carthy ( vocals, guitar, mandolin), John Kirkpatrick (vocals, accordion, concertina), Howard Evans ( trumpet), Roger Williams ( trombone), Martin Brinsford ( harmonica, percussion, saxophone).
Carthy was a well established musician at their formation, having been a member of Steeleye Span and The Watersons, as well as leading a successful solo career. Kirkpatrick had also played with Steeleye Span for a time, and worked with Carthy in the Albion Country Band. The two formed an occasional trio with Evans after all three appeared on Carthy's albums Because It's There (1979) and Out of the Cut (1982). Brass Monkey was formed with the addition of Williams and Brinsford after initially being billed as The Martin Carthy Band.
In 1984, after recording their first album, Williams was replaced by Richard Cheetham (born 29 January 1957, in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire). The band recorded only two albums Brass Monkey (1983) and See How it Runs (1986). Both primarily consisted of traditional songs and tunes and were later re-issued on a single CD under the title The Complete Brass Monkey (1993). Unable to reconcile the schedules of its various members, the band reluctantly broke up in 1987.
In 1997 the group reunited for a tour, and soon recorded a third album, Sound and Rumour. This was followed by Going and Staying in 2001 on which both Williams and Cheetham appeared and Flame of Fire in 2004, which reverted to the original line-up.
Despite Evans' death in 2006 the band decided to continue, initially with a four-piece line-up who debuted with a short set at a Watersons family show at the Royal Albert Hall on 12 May 2007 before a short UK tour later in the same year and sporadic live shows during 2008. Later in 2008 the band recruited Paul Archibald to as their new trumpet player and debut their new lineup at the Electric Theatre in Guildford on Sunday 15 March 2009. This line-up released a new CD Head of Steam on 20 April 2009.
Usage examples of "brass monkey".
If we go back to Brass Monkey and present Trell with a fait accompli, I don't think he or whoever's behind all this will try anything.
If we want, we can leave for Brass Monkey tomorrow and make our own way as best we can.
He was going around telling people that in 1984 there had been an inch and a half of snow in Boulder by September 14, and that by November it would be cold enough to freeze the balls off a- brass monkey.
You lot over there, get more wood on the fire-it's cold as a brass monkey in here.
You lot over there, get more wood on the fireit's cold as a brass monkey in here.
Come in, Edward and close the door, it's drafty and cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.
Everything bloody chaos - radio on the blink - night, and cold enough to freeze a brass monkey's - when a platoon of those fucking Chinks showed up.