The sci-fi spirit

You know what you need? Geeky cocktail recipes. There are a million reasons! Maybe you’ll have your friends over to watch the Doctor Who Christmas special, whenever the BBC decides to air it. Maybe it’s getting close to convention time in your neck of the woods and you want your after-hours hotel room revelry to be fully on theme. Maybe you’ve got some kind of sci-fi-centric art opening coming up in Atlanta next Friday—I mean, who even knows? The point is, you need some recipes!

I may not be much of an experienced bartender, but I am a dedicated experimenter, and I’ve spent a good deal of time developing three yummy cocktails that could totally pass for legit in any bar. I’m going to tell you up front that one of them is a viable Earth version of the pan-galactic gargle blaster, but I’m not going to get to that immediately. Let’s work up to it the same way Douglas Adams worked up to The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: by setting our sights on Doctor Who.

A Screwdriver is already a drink. Vodka and orange juice. So this one’s fairly obvious, and I’m a little surprised it hasn’t been more thoroughly covered. Introducing the Sonic Screwdriver, in two versions—the Eleventh and the Tenth.

The Eleventh and Tenth Doctors, sonicking

Two doctors, two screwdrivers, two delicious, pretty little cocktails.

Sonic Screwdriver, 11th Doctor edition

Sonic Screwdriver,
11th Doctor edition

• 1 oz Blue Curacao
• 1 oz Vodka
• 6 oz Orange juice

Measure blue curacao, vodka and orange juice into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass.

Sonic Screwdriver, 10th Doctor edition

Sonic Screwdriver,
10th Doctor edition

• 1 oz Blue Curacao
• 1 oz Citrus Vodka
• Ginger ale

Measure blue curacao and vodka into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass. Fill the glass with chilled ginger ale.

Both Sonic Screwdrivers lend themselves to mixing by the pitcher, although you’ll need to be clever about the ice since you won’t be shaking anything. Frozen orange juice makes a nice ice cube alternative for the Eleventh cocktail. For the Tenth, I recommend keeping the whole pitcher in the fridge.

And that brings us to the pan-galactic gargle blaster, which you should absolutely never make an entire pitcher of under any circumstances. I don’t mean to be cliche, but drinking just one of these truly is not unlike having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. The surprising part is that although it will numb your mouth on contact, it’s quite tasty, thanks to a few thoughtful fiction-to-reality translations. And it’s satisfyingly blue. I don’t know about that olive, though. I don’t like olives. Mine remained undisturbed at the bottom of the glass, but I’m sure its presence added… something. A sense of authenticity, at the very least.

The mostly harmless Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

You aren’t likely to have the original ingredients (Ol’ Janx Spirit, Santraginean seawater, etc.) on hand, but you can probably procure these:

Earth ingredients

  • 1 tiny bottle of vodka (as frequently sold on airlines, this being the closest thing to intergalactic travel presently available to most of us)
  • .5 oz blue curacao
  • 1.5 oz gin, chilled
  • Lemon-lime soda
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract
  • 1 lemon-lime Airborne tablet (you heard me)
  • Edible gold glitter
  • Olive

Let’s take a closer look at that glitter. They’re metallic sprinkles, shaped like little stars, which I find heart-stoppingly cute. You can order edible gold stars from Amazon, or you can pick up the Wilton version (shown) at Michael’s for about the same price. These are an important ingredient, as they serve three purposes: They give you something to sprinkle in place of Zamphour, they account for the “large gold brick” feeling, and they make people think of space. Purpose 3.5: they’re adorable.


I’ve translated the following recipe as directly as my knowledge of Earth ingredients allows, while still using things that you can conceivably consume together and enjoy. Of course, I would’ve preferred to use something stronger than vodka in place of the Ol’ Janx Spirit, but good luck finding grain alcohol in the tiny airplane bottles. (If you do, I will be so jealous!)

Intergalactic edition, per the
Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Mostly harmless edition,
21st century

Take the juice from one bottle of the Ol’ Janx Spirit (see page 15 of the actual Guide). Take the juice from one tiny bottle of vodka.
Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V — Oh, that Santraginean seawater, it says. Oh, those Santraginean fish! Pour into it one measure of blue curacao from the seas of Santraginus V or a liquor store.
Allow three cubes of Arcturan MegaGin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost). Add gin (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
Allow four liters of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it, in memory of all those happy hikers who have died of pleasure in the marshes of Fallia. Fill the glass with lemon-lime soda, in memory of all those happy hikers who have died of pleasure in the marshes of Fallia.
Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin Hypermint Extract, redolent of all the heady odors of the dark Qualactin Zones, subtle, sweet and mystic. Over the back of a silver spoon, float the mint extract, redolent of all the heady odors of the dark Qualactin Zones, subtle, sweet and mystic.
Drop in the tooth of an Algolan Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolan suns deep into the heart of the drink. Drop in the Airborne tablet. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolan suns deep into the heart of the drink.
Sprinkle Zamphour. Sprinkle tiny gold stars.
Add an olive. Add an olive.
Drink… but… very… carefully. Drink… but… very… carefully.

I don’t actually know what will happen to you if you drink a couple of these. It doesn’t seem like a good idea. Surely no amount of immune-boosting vitamins can make up for a cocktail this sweet, strong and bizarre. Everyone should at least taste one, just for the experience—but hats off if you make it through a full glass, you froody thing you.

Kristina Ackerman

Kristina Ackerman is a busy freelance web designer, living and DIYing with her fella and their little fella in a cute old house in Atlanta, GA, USA.

  • Oh my god I love you. Amazing awesomeness. Now to get my hands on some Airborne…

  • Ha! Yeah, it’s my considered opinion that the Airborne is what really makes the drink, er, otherworldly. It’s easy to find in U.S. drugstores and supermarkets, and it’s about $6 for a package of I think 8–10 tablets.

  • The first show of the new series, broadcast on Saturday, featured a kissogram, a naked Physician along with a “sexed up” Tardis.During the unique 65-minute episode, The Eleventh Hour, in which Physician Who had 20 minutes to save Earth from aliens identified as the Atraxi, his new companion, Amy Pond, was revealed as a kissogram dressed in a skimpy policeman’s outfit, complete with mini-skirt and handcuffs. In 1 scene, Amy, played by the actress Karen Gillan, told the Doctor that her kissogram repertoire also included nuns and nurses’ outfits. Locate out extra at Sci Fi Fan.

    • Prizoner Sero

      “Physician Who”…

      I’ve seen a lot of spammers, but you take the cake for lamest.

      • Right? It was out of pure fascination that I refrained from killing the comment. Physician Who!!

  • I was looking for something else, but somehow ended up on your site, dont you just adore the Internet. Thought I’d mail you a quick hi & say that although I was not seeking this it was still acutely fascinating. Pleasant fresh appearance to the site.

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  • anony

    Perfect for a bright young thing only lately lost their way

  • Cin77

    OMG!! I’m almost half way through the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy for the millionth time and for some reason everytime I stumble while I’m reading it I get a lot of stuff about it.

    Thanks for keeping the tradition alive :) and thanks for the recipe for a pan-galactic gargle blaster, heh heh the book gonna get hard to read later, but at least Zaphod Beeblebrox might start to make some sense!

    P.S Can you give me directions to the end of the universe too? I’m feeling a little bit peckish ;)

  • aeryn
  • Caite IzzaZombie

    So my Sorority came up with a version of the Sonic Screw Driver.
    • 1 oz Blue Curacao
    • 1 oz Vanilla Vodka
    • 6 oz Lemon-lime Soda
    • dash of Peach Nehi (or until drink turns dark blue)

  • PsychVol

    I’m psyched to try your drinks.

    Previously, I’d decided that a sonic screwdriver was vodka and Amp Energy Orange juice.


    • Ha, that one sounds good too!

  • firefly124

    Can’t wait to try these! And here I thought I was being all geeky drinking Avada Coladas at a wedding last weekend. (1 part Midori, 1 part Malibu, and pineapple juice)

  • Had to jigger with the recipe a bit but 10 works really well if:

    * You use a citrus vodka
    * You have the girl behind the bar (or boy, I like to talk to girls more though, they like the accent) dispenses the ginger ale into a separate glass before topping up the booze.

    Have a pic of the successful one here:

    It really was ace. :)

    • Excellent! Cute bartender, too. I agree with your insistence on citrus vodka for the 10. It’s vital. I’m curious about the other part, though—what do you suppose the separate glass does for the ginger ale?

  • NativeTexan210

    BAH HAHAHAHAHA. Oh god I love you for these drinks. Cant wait to try them with friends. :):):)

  • C-C-C-C-C-Combo Breaker!

    Yup…leave it to a buncha girls to sissify a decent drink. =P jklol

  • Toadynexus

    This is very tasty.
    The original recipe called for 120 proof Cruzan rum. They don’t make it anymore but they do make 151 which is so much better than any other 151 as to make your eyes bleed just trying to sip the others to compare them to Cruzan brand. But you can approximate 120 pretty easily by using 1/2 each 80 proof gold rum and the 151 (comes out to 115 or so – I am picky so I mix more exactly amounts to get damned close to 120).
    I HIGHLY recommend Cruzan as it is essentially the best rand smoothest rum ever tasted. I used Sapphire Gin ’cause it’s like in an exotic blue bottle and it seemed to go better with the artistry of the drink. It was deliberate that I used Jose Gold instead of really good tequila – you cannot actually drink benzene which is probably closer to the flavor I was seeking….

    Sapphire Gin
    Creme de Menthe (green)
    80 proof Cruzan rum
    151 Cruzan rum
    Jose Gold Tequila
    cayenne pepper
    lemon extract
    vanilla powder
    your choice: fizzy lemonade or sprite/7-up

    So into a 12oz hurricane glass drop two large ice cubes
    * sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper on the ice
    * add 1/4 tsp vanilla powder
    * add 1/4 tsp lemon extract
    * add 1 shot each:
    creme de menthe
    * add 3/4 – 1 shot
    * add 1/2 shot
    151 proof Cruzan
    80 proof Cruzan

    Now add the mixer (lemon-lime soda or fizzy lemonade) slowly so yas don’t defizz it as much
    take a long handle spoon or the like and stir carefully from top to bottom 3 times.

    * add an olive
    Drink, but ever so carefully. I do not recommend drinking more than two a DAY. I doubt seriously you could get up after #2 anyway…

    **For added pastiche –
    freeze mini gin cubes and drop 6-8 just prior to the olive.
    gin don’t freeze straight – it’s gotta be somewhat diluted: 1:4 w/ water.

    • Toadynexus

      * add 1/2 shot
      151 proof Cruzan
      80 proof Cruzan

      That’s 1/2 shot EACH

  • Tamar @ Koreafornian Cooking

    I have a bias for Doctor #10 b/c he has my mothers maiden name. Hehe!

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  • Archergal

    Brilliant.  Just… brilliant.

  • Slats

    Had a really great time with these Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters last night. Made two modifications: we used creme de menthe instead of mint extract, and instead of using a mini-bottle of vodka, we used a shot of Devils Springs 160 proof vodka. Which will definitely make you feel like you’ve been smashed by a brick. This will definitely be my drink of choice when I turn 42

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  • Megg

    Oh you just made my day. I must try these when I come of age!!!

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  • I loved your ingenuity in coming up with earthly ingredients. I just made
    a Gargle Blaster. My edible glitter wasn’t as cool as yours, but I
    think I made a formidable one. Very minty, though:

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