For fans of inebriants, Cinco de Mayo this coming Sunday is one of the most exciting days of the year; a day when excessive alcohol consumption is not only expected, it’s encouraged (Mexicans, like the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, often regard it as “Amateur Night”). In some of our favorite fictional worlds of the future, alcohol still provides a welcome distraction from the universe around.
No matter what evolution alcohol goes through, there is something about human nature that will always looks for some type of distraction. Utopian and dystopian futures alike all seem to still have a simple human requirement for release of cares and worries. Orwell’s Victory Gin and Huxley’s Soma are just a few examples of dystopian alcohol use, but booze still exists as recreation in the futures of Star Trek and other, happier societies. Rather than shun or shy away from human nature, I say let’s embrace the need for diversion, because if there are two things we like here at Topless Robot, they’d be science fiction and booze. The following are ten of the most memorable intoxicating beverages from the sci-fi lexicon. Some are just beverages, some replace meals, but they all could accomplish one thing: fuck you up good.
10. Ambrosia – Battlestar Galactica
Alcohol advertising of the past always liked to point out how cleanly the beverage was made. Crisp mountain waters, the finest barley and hops all hope to give an image of purity and cleanliness. Then there is Ambrosia, the chief export of the Twelve Colonies Penal System. That’s right, the beverage of the Gods is manufactured in jail by sweaty, nasty convicts. Of course that’s before the Cylons decide to go all Skynet on their parents, nuking the shit out of the Twelve Colonies and all of their spirit-producing prisons. It’s safe to say, especially since the Galactica crew builds a still in the hangar bay, that any alcohol is good alcohol after Armageddon, regardless of where it was made.
Apparently there are many different kind of Ambrosia, with one of the rarest being Scorpion Marsh Genuine Ambrosia, a variety that is generally snubbed by Capricans for its strength and that fact that it smells like swamp ass. While its green color would seem more appropriate for Saint Patrick’s Day, frak it, color shouldn’t get in the way of a good buzz…So Say We All.
9. Moloko Plus – A Clockwork Orange
It’s safe to say that there will be more than a few fights breaking out on Cinco de Mayo. In science fiction though, nothing seems to promote violence or rather, the old Ultraviolence like Moloko Plus.
The preferred beverage of Alex and his Droogs, this combination of milk, alcohol and barbiturates brings out the worst in people, and seems like it would be the perfect beverage to have before starting a fight. While neither the book nor the movie give a detailed recipe, the Internet seems to have come to the consensus that Moloko Plus is a blend of Absinthe, Anisette, Irish Cream, sugar and milk, minus of course the psychotropic drugs (unless you still are under the impression that the Green Fairy causes hallucinations).
As fun as it might sound, drinking Moloko Plus is most likely going to turn you into the party’s asshole. The Droogs tend to fuel up on the stuff before their Ultraviolence benders, which I’m guessing would make you somewhat of a pariah at a party. One minute you’re drinking it up and having a blast, the next you’re beating your party host over the head with a giant penis sculpture. I’m guessing it’s a quick way to get off the guest list for next year.
8. Benderbrau – Futurama
As odd as it may seem, Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica was one of the few times we as viewers have witnessed robot pregnancy. The resulting human/Cylon hybrid of course became the next step in human evolution, but how much fun is that? When Futurama‘s Bender gets pregnant, though, the results are both hysterical and inebriating.
With a proper mix of ingredients, heat and robot porn, it isn’t long before Bender has a bun in the oven in the form of beer. Of course, the happy robot parent has no idea whether his offspring will be an ale or a lager, but after a short period of time, Benderbrau, a cold-fusion, steam-brewed ale is born.
There isn’t anything particularly remarkable about Benderbrau, aside from the fact that it was cold brewed in the belly of a robot. Then again, I’ve been told that carrying a child is one of the most rewarding and demanding things a person can experience, so the amount of dedication necessary for a vat of Benderbrau rivals any efforts of Jim Cook.
7. Green a.k.a. Aldebaran Whisky – Star Trek: The Next Generation
While Klingons and Romulans might still like their alcoholic beverages in a more traditional form, Starfleet had opted to remove it from their ships lounges and replicators, replacing it instead with Synthehol; a beverage that while smelling and tasting like the true thing, has limited effects on the living. While it still has the ability to intoxicate, it’s effects are significantly diminished and easily dismissed, all without those nagging little inconveniences such as alcohol poisoning, liver damage and beer goggles.
Of course, when Captain Montgomery Scott, recently freed from his transporter purgatory on board the USS Jenolan, wants to get shit-faced, Synthehol will most certainly not do. Thankfully, Data and Guinan come to the rescue, replacing Scotty’s synthetic and apparently disgusting scotch with a bottle of Aldebaran Whisky from Guinan’s private stock. While not much is known about this beverage, it is referenced multiple times, particularly in the Deep Space Nine era as something available at Quark’s bar. Its effects are obvious in its one onscreen appearance – it can put a true Scotsman under the table, or at least the helm of the Enterprise, so long as it doesn’t have any bloody A, B, C or D on it.
6. Romulan Ale – Original Star Trek
Romulan Ale has been at the center of at least one serious diplomatic incident in the history of the Federation. No wonder then that it is technically illegal, though high ranking Starfleet officers seem to have little trouble acquiring this clandestine blue beverage. An early script for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan described the bootlegged spirit as an “instant drunk”, and it was obvious by the effects that it had on crews of both the Enterprise and Kronos-One at a diplomatic dinner in 2293 that it was an intensely strong beverage. It is believed to be at least as strong as Klingon Bloodwine, though one is less likely to contract hepatitis from Romulan Ale.
While we live nowhere near the Romulan Star Empire, we meager humans have come up with a reasonable facsimile to true Romulan Ale. According to the Star Trek Memory Alpha Website, a mixture of Bacardi rum, Everclear and Blue Curacao in equal parts creates a beverage similar in color and effect to the legendary Romulan Ale. While we can’t assume the taste will be accurate, at 134 proof the beverage should deliver the desired effects.
5. Mudder’s Milk – Firefly
There’s highbrow beverages, and rot gut beverages, but there is something quite special about drinks for the every man, the working class. In my hometown of Baltimore in a small division called Canton, National Bohemian Beer (or Natty Boh) is the working class beverage. In the town of Canton on the world of Higgin’s Moon, that every man’s drink is Mudder’s Milk. Essentially the combination of alcohol, a Powerbar and Carnation Instant Breakfast, Mudder’s Milk is a supplement meant to replenish lost nutrients from a hard day’s work and prevent revolt by keeping the Mudders completely shitfaced.
By definition, the beverage sounds disgusting, but it’s not a new concept. Simon is quick to point out that the ancient Egyptians concocted a similar brew to prevent starvation and revolt in their workers as well. It’s obvious by the looks on the faces of first time drinkers that the beverage has a unique taste and texture, but it’s that texture that might be one of the best aspects of the beverage.
One of the two pieces of advice my grandfather gave me was never to drink on an empty stomach (the other piece being to always shit on company time). Mudder’s Milk is the perfect solution to drinking without dining, since the drink and the meal are technically one in the same. There’s no need for expensive food tabs on a night when Mudder’s Milk is on the menu. It’s the Chunky Soup of alcohol – fills you up and gets you pissed!
4. Anaconda Malt Liquor – Black Dynamite
I’ll be the first to admit that this one is a stretch, but it’s the science fiction properties of Leon St. James’s favorite beverage that warrant it’s place on this list. As the only malt liquor officially given the seal of approval of the United States government, one would think that the beverage that gives you “ooohhh” would be of the highest quality. Of course it isn’t long before we discover the horrible truth behind the beverage.
Anaconda Malt Liquor is apparently a government experiment contrived by Tricky Dick Nixon and the Fiendish Dr. Wu, who apparently are suffering from little man syndrome. The effects of long term exposure to the drink, aside from giving you “ooohhh”, is the reduction in size of the victims manhood.
On second thought, Anaconda Malt Liquor might just be the great equalizer for us nerds. My email is flooded on a daily basis with ads that guarantee to add to my anatomy. Instead, by feeding my potential rivals copious amounts of Anaconda, I could quickly be able to measure up so to speak, without exposing myself to any potentially dangerous chemicals or painful surgeries. Drink up my rivals…drink up!
3. Bor’kaan Volshool Ivanova – Babylon 5
It can’t be said that the Drazi don’t know how to have a good time. Even their political process seems to be a hoot, as demonstrated when Commander Ivanova is dispatched to quell what seems to be a Drazi civil war. She soon learns that every five years the Drazi people are separated into two camps, Green and Purple, who then engage in a battle royale until one team is declared the victor. That team then gets control of the government for the next five year which in hindsight, seems like a much more inexpensive and fun way of determining leadership. Once the battle is over, Drazi of both colors come together in a celebration of drinking games, with Bor’kaan as their beverage of choice.
Babylon 5‘s Drazi population are thrown for loop with Ivanova’s intervention, as she inadvertently starts turmoil by taking the green sash of leadership, thereby becoming Green Leader. Unfortunately for her, Bor’kaan is a particularly nasty and deadly drink, with humans only able to consume it after taking an alcohol blocker of some sort. Not wanting their new Green Leader to miss out of the celebrations, they concoct a less potent version of the beverage by diluting it with Russian Vodka. This new drink, Bor’kaan Volshool Ivanova, is apparently a joke on the commander. While she does not ask was Volshool means, the laughter that erupts every time they say the word implies pussy. Regardless of what you are drinking though, there ain’t no party like a Drazi party ’cause a Drazi party don’t stop…until someone passes out in the drunken Drazi pyramid.
2. Spice Beer – Dune
In the year 10,191, the most precious substance in the universe is the spice melange. When taken properly it can make people live longer, have some really trippy dreams, and generally feel happy. If you go on a Tony Montana style spice bender, you end up seeing the future, getting really blue eyes and eventually turning into a fish monster. Of course, a substance with that much potential for benefit will most certainly be abused, and it didn’t take long before intergalactic, futuristic frat boys decided that mixing spice with beer would make for one hell of a good time.
There may be some benefits to starting off your bender with a copious amount of spice beer. You might have a waking dream early in the evening in which you see the fight you will get in, the vomiting all over the Guild Bar Bathroom or the hideous sexual partner you might go home with at the end of the night. This precognition might save you from an embarrassing morning of regret… and syphilis. Of course, the downside to all of that spice beer is eventually you find yourself with webbed feet and hands. Then again, webbed extremities would be preferred to a serious case of the drips.
1. The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster – The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
There is no place on this list but the top for what is science fiction’s most memorable alcoholic beverage. Described by the most useful book in the universe as “the alcoholic equivalent of a mugging – expensive and bad for the head…like having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick”, the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is also notable for being one of the few beverages that comes complete with its own recovery program in addition to acidic chemical properties similar to Giger’s Alien.
While many of the beverages on this list can be replicated or at least interpreted on this list, the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster unfortunately is not one I would expect to see. Its ingredients, including such things as that Ol’ Janx Spirits, Arcturian Mega-Gin and Algolian Suntiger teeth are obviously impossible to get here, and while websites offer many earthbound representations, Douglas Adams himself said in a 2000 interview with Slashdot, that attempting to make a true Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster on Earth would violate multiple environmental and weapons treaties as well as the laws of physics. A true fire and forget weapon, this drink is one you would forget the moment you fired it down your throat, most likely because of the instant death you caused yourself.
A fan of video games and science fiction from the moment he discovered his father's Atari 2600 and Star Wars, Jason Helton has been contributing to The Robot's Voice since 2011. Prior, he wrote for the UK's Den of Geek and was the producer and host of Iron Otaku Radio on XM's UPOP 29 channel. A die-hard fan of Battlestar Galactica (both old and new), Doctor Who, and pinball, you can follow him on Twitter @Razgriz1138.