Thirsty Towel Day: Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy comes in many forms - it started as a radio play, then became a series of books, a BBC miniseries, and even a major motion picture. Then there have even been comic books and stage plays, and probably any other form of media you can think of, someone has made a Hitchhiker's version of.
I first came to know Adams' hilarious and irreverent tale through the books, which tell the story of hapless Englishman Arthur Dent. Arthur finds himself one of the only survivors of the destruction of Earth, which was demolished to make way for an hyperspatial express route. Thanks to his best friend Ford Prefect, an alien who was on earth doing research for an article in the rather remarkable book, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", Arthur finds himself hitching a ride on an alien spaceship just before the Earth goes boom. On their way around the galaxy, they run into Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox, Marvin the paranoid android, and Trillian, formerly Tricia McMillian, a girl Arthur once met at a party and who's now the second surviving human along with him.
But that's just the setup, and what make the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy special are all the things that can't be captured in a summary. Instead, I'm just going to share a quote that may help explain, to you strags out there, why this day has become known as Towel Day:
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels.
A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical value—you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble‐sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand‐to‐hand‐combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindbogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you—daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might have accidentally "lost.". What the strag will think is that any man that can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still know where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with."
Now, the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, according to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is the best drink in existence. It was originally created by Zaphod Beeblebrox, and it's said that drinking it has the effect of making you feel as though you've had your brains bashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick. Of course, the original recipe is a bit difficult to make without access to intergalactic ingredients.
So, for this recipe, I turned to one of my very oldest friends and one hoopy frood who really knows where her towel is, Emily Tucker. Emily, in addition to being a big Hitchhiker fan, happens to be lead bartender and mixologist at Shade in Houston, Texas. If you're down that way, be sure to stop by and say "hi". And, as always, don't forget your towel.
Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster
Ingredients and tools needed:
Skewer (if you want it for the Olive)
Raw sugar cube - Suntiger Tooth
2 dashes Orange or Lemon Bitters (Orange is easier to find, although I think the flavor would be best with lemon)
1 1/2 oz Boodles Gin (Any London Dry Gin will do, Bombay, etc.) - Ol' Janx Spirt
1 oz Tito's Vodka - Santragian Seawater
2 oz Cava (Can sub other bubbles, as long as they are dry) - Fallian Marsh Gas
1/4 oz Peppermint Schnapps (I had extra, Creme de Menthe would work) - Qalactin Hypermint extract
In your small tin combine 1 1/2 oz Gin, 1 oz vodka, pack with ice & shake until
cold, stain into large cocktail glass or coupe. (I love coupes!)
Add three cubes of fresh ice (it must be properly iced or the benzine is lost).
Add four litres (2 oz) of chilled Cava, in honor of all those happy hikers who have died of pleasure in the Marshes of Fallia.
On the back of your barspoon pour 1/4 oz of Peppermint/Menthe schnapps, redolent of all the heavy odors of the dark Qalactin Zones, subtle, sweet, and mystic.
Saturate your raw sugar cube with 2-3 dashes of bitters, drop into drink. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian Suns deep into the heart of the drink.
Finely zest the lemon over the drink to let the oil spray the rim of the glass (on Earth lemon zest is equal to sprinkling Zamphuor).
Add an olive.
Drink . . . but . . . very carefully . . .
I hope you like it! If you have a large enough coupe you could always use more Cava, more bubbles never hurt anyone! Have fun! It was fun making it.