I turned 42 this year! This is an age filled with meaning for me, and I’ve been waiting for my 42nd birthday for a loooooong time. Why, you ask? Well, it just so happens that 42 is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything. It also just so happens that the first part of Douglas Adams’s five part trilogy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is 42 years old too! A double 42nd birthday party is in order! In celebration of both mine and the book’s 42nd birthday, I finally developed a recipe for Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster!
This drink has an effect described as “having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick”. Sounds intriguing, am I right? It’s been almost three decades since I first read the book, and I’ve been imagining the cocktail for an equally long time. I think it’s about time to mix one! Getting hold of the ingredients is a difficult now as it was back in the 90’s, but I think I got close enough. 😉 Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster my way is at least also best enjoyed very, very carefully…
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
I first read the Hithchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as a 12-year old, and by the time I’d reach the age of entering bars I’d read it many many times. Needles to say, I was the giggling dork trying to unsuccessfully order a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster in every bar I went to, until the novelty finally wore off. I quite obviously thought it was hilarious, whilst the bartender likely didn’t… The bars in the small Finnish town I grew up in hadn’t unfortunately developed their own recipe for Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Though that’s maybe not very surprising, since they weren’t really catering for scifi fans, let alone scifi parody fans…
The web is full of recipes for Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. And as you can imagine, a fictive drink with fictive ingredients may be interpreted in lots of different ways! What I’ve ran accross range from recipes concentrated in mixing all possible alcohols together to those that just sound way too simple. Then there are those that are waaaay too complicated to me, and those that just sound all wrong! (Which is just my personal opinion, based on how I imagine the drink – I’m not saying any of the above-linked recipes are bad, they are just not for me!) Seems to me it’s best to try and create my own version if I want to drink this elusive concoction…
Instructions for pan galactic gargle blaster, according to the hithchhiker’s guide to the galaxy:
- Take the juice from one bottle of Ol’ Janx Spirit.
- Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V — Oh, that Santraginean seawater! Oh, those Santraginean fish!
- Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
- Allow four litres 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.
- Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin Hypermint extract, redolent of all the heady odours of the dark Qualactin Zones, subtle, sweet and mystic.
- Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian Suns deep into the heart of the drink.
- Sprinkle Zamphuor.
Drink… but very carefully… And never have more than two, unless you happen to be a “thirty ton mega elephant with bronchial pneumonia” as Zaphod Beeblebrox put it. He’s the creator of this drink, he should know!
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, my way:
Ol’ Janx Spirit
- Cheap vodka! Moonshine would be kind of a logic equivalent, but I happen to have no contacts to anyone making it… So I ended up going with the cheapest kind of vodka. I can very well imagine people playing drinking games with vodka, telepsychic or not!
water from the seas of Santraginus V
- Absinthe! Santraginus V is a planet full of beautiful marble-sanded beaches and precious seashells, where you can lie on the beach whilst “inhaling the heady sea vapours”. Many interpret the sea-water as a saline solution, but I ended up focusing on the word “heady” and went with something considered as extra intoxicating: absinthe! It’s an added bonus that it’s got that lovely green hue, and that it’s been illegal in many countries around the world. Seems appropriate for the sea-water coming from this addictive planet?
- Gin! Oh year, I’ve been extremely clever here, and went with gin. Navy-strength would be best! If you want to go the extra mile, pop it in the freezer a few hours before mixing your PGGB. It won’t be frozen, but at least it will “properly iced”!
Fallian marsh gas
- Mineral water! The strongest, most pungeant kind that is called “Vichy” water here in Finland. I would’ve tried to carbonate my concoction with a soda machine, but alas, I’ve gotten rid of mine years ago. So, mineral water it is! Fallia is a planet famous for it’s marshes, emitting a deadly hallucinogenic euphoria. So… feel free to swap Absinthe as Fallian marsh-gas and mineral water as seawater from Santraginus V in your mind. That’s what I do, when I start to doubt myself and don’t want to change the recipe anymore 😀
Qualactin Hypermint extract
- Mint liqueur, preferably the tooth-pasty blue kind. I would actually have gone with the Swiss cinnamon schnapps that has those gold flakes floating in it… But, it seems to exist only in my memories these days (= it’s not sold here currently). The description for Qualactin hypermint extract is “subtle, sweet and mystic” which for me sounds like sweet cinnamon and gold flakes! But oh well, gotta make do with what I got, so mint liqueur it is. The tooth-pasty kind. Because it’s a mystery to me why anyone would buy it
the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger
- A sugar cube with cocktail bitters. The tooth is supposed to spread the fires of Algolian suns in to the depths of the cocktail, so I wanted to season the cubes with something warming (coco & coffee bitters), then SET IT ON FIRE. Sugar with a few dashes of cocktail bitters won’t be easy to set aflame by itself, so the tooth is first soaked in some Santraginus V sea-water.
- A sprinkle of edible gold dust. Because how else would the drink have an effect of “having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick”?
- Oh an olive? That sound just like lemon juice to me… Because how else would the drink have an effect of “having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick”? Of course you can also snack on some olives while sipping on your Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, if you are so inclined 🙂 I love olives! Don’t you?
a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick
The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster I hereby created turned out to be a very nice drink indeed. It’s golden, it’s strong, and if you drink too many, you’ll definitely feel like you’ve had your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. As you can see from my pictures, I made it also with a few drops of blue food coloring – the color of the PGBG seems to be a big dispute for some so hey, you can make it any color you want. But whatever the color, drink this properly chilled! I personally prefer mine sipped “neat” on the rocks with very little Fallian sea gas, but you can of course add as much mineral water as you see fit. Just don’t drink more than two – you have been warned!
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
- small fire proof steel dish + matches
- Cocktailspoon / muddler + cocktail shaker
- silver spoon
- 3 sugar cubes + 10-15 dashes of coco or coffee bitters
- 15 ml absinth
- 7½ ml mint liqueur
- 60 ml lemon juice
- 60 ml vodka
- 60 ml Navy Strength gin
- 5 ml edible gold dust
- mineral water to taste
- Put the sugar cubes in a small steel dish. Take out a fire proof lid that fits over the dish. Make sure to put the dish on heat proof surface and that there's nothing over it.
- Drop some coffee or cocktail bitters on the sugar cubes, then drizzle over 15 ml of absinth. Set aflame.
- Allow the sugar cubes to flame until the sugar is bubbly. Then suffocate the flames with the lid. Muddle the sugar cubes with the remaining liquid in you cocktail shaker.
- Add the vodka to the shaker, along with the lemon juice and the gin, which you add by pouring it over a silver spoon. Finally, add a dash of gold dust.
- Mix well and pour in a bottle. Put the pan galactic gargle blaster in the freezer for at least an hour to properly chill it!
- Before serving, shake the bottle a bit to evenly distribute the gold dust. Pour 4-8 cl of the gargle blaster per glass filled with ice and top with as little or as much of mineral water as you wish. Serve with some olives on the side!
Ps. Jess Zimmerman has written an interesting article on the PGGB and the bars that serve it, and you can find a collection of PGGB recipes at the Wikibooks site dedicated to it! And in case you’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy, what would you image the recipe for Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster be like here on Earth?