Hitchhiker's Guide Cocktails
Words by Simon Difford
We do like a guide, and yesterday that great British institution, BBC Radio 4 (AKA Radio Bore), aired the first in a new series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. For fans of this humorous and thought provoking sci-fi book/series this is a momentous occasion that demands celebration with cocktails.
For the uninitiated I should explain, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of five books written by the late Douglas Adams which follows the galactic adventures of Arthur Dent, the last human alive. This short clip [click here] sets the scene and explains much about Dent.
The book and subsequent radio series, television series and film feature:
- The earths destruction - our planet was demolished by an alien race, known as Vogons, in order to build a bypass for an intergalactic highway.
- The "answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything" - which is of course Number 42.
- The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster - the "Best Drink in Existence."
- A paranoid android named Marvin - with a "brain the size of a planet."
- The Babel fish - a small, yellow, leech-like creature that "feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language." Handy!
You should also be aware that Hitchhiker's Guide's birthday is celebrated on the 8th March (hence this date in 2018 was chosen to launch the new series), while Towel Day (every galactic hitchhiker needs a towel) is celebrated on 25th May.
All the above, and much more silliness, inspired Christos Chouseas to open his excellent 42 Bar in Athens, Greece, lightly themed around The Hitcher's Guide. Sadly, Christos sold his bar in 2017 but follows original recipes we captured from Bar 42.
Pangalactic Gargle Blaster
With: Fresh basil leaves, vodka, black raspberry liqueur, triple sec, Grand Marnier Rouge, cranberry juice and strawberry puree
We say: The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is said to be like "having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick".
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster recipe
Marvin's Last Word
Garnish: Orange wheel
Method: SHAKE all the ingredients with ice and strain into glass filled with crushed ice.
50ml Tonka infused vodka (5 beans per 700ml for 4 days)
30ml Ginger Syrup*
15ml Caraway syrup
35ml fresh lemon juice
2 bar spoons Lemon/lime/brown sugar marmalade
Preparation notes from Christos
*Ginger syrup: One part fresh ginger juice (from a centrifuge juicer) to one part 42 sugar syrup.
*42 sugar syrup called Not So Simple: 800ml water, 900gr crystal white sugar and 400gr fructose (80°C for 4 minutes, turn off heat, leave to cool)
*Caraway syrup: roast 400g caraway seeds. Turn off heat. Break them down with a muddler. Put it in a pot, turn heat on, add 1 litre of the Not So Simple syrup (see above), simmer, then leave to cool before discarding the caraway seeds. "The logic (if there is any) behind the use of so much caraway is maximizing the flavor per ml of water we add to the cocktail. If we need more dilution we just add water when preparing cocktails. That goes for almost all our in-house ingredients as a logic."