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Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters

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There are a great many recipes out there (not least on h2g2) showing how to make a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster (PGGB). The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster is a drink that appeared in the seminal Douglas Adams work, the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Most versions of the drink, however, will not be true to his original description because there obviously entails a great deal of difficulty in obtaining the proper ingredients, most of which are the product of the author's imagination.

So, this entry seeks not to replicate the (fictional) ingredients but, rather, to offer a recipe based on an 'interpretation' of this extraordinary drink, the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.

The 'Official' Recipe Taken from the Book

  • Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol' Janx Spirit.

  • Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V.

  • Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzine 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 Zamphour.

  • Add an olive.

  • Drink... but... very carefully.

Deciphering the Recipe

  • Quite what 'that Ol' Janx Spirit' could equate to is unknown, so too 'water from the seas of Santraginus V'.

  • 'Arcturan Mega-gin' clearly sounds like it should equate to gin, although the 'mega' prefix suggests extra potency. The fact that it comes in cubes and melts suggests that it is frozen.

  • 'Fallian marsh gas' being bubbled through it suggests that the drink should be at least slightly fizzy. The 'dying of pleasure' suggests that the gas has a pleasant aroma.

  • 'Qualactin Hypermint extract' implies a mint oil of some kind and while the 'hyper' prefix indicates that the extract may be strong, the phrase 'subtle sweet and mystic', used to describe the aroma, indicates that it should not be overpoweringly so.

  • The 'tooth of an Algolian Suntiger' bringing 'the fires of the Algolian Suns' to the drink suggests that this is a spicy ingredient. A solid that easily dissolves in the mixture created thus far.

  • 'Sprinkle Zamphour', a simple instruction. It seems probable that this is a solid ingredient, some form of powder to be added in much the same manner as the chocolate on top of a cappucino.

  • 'Add an olive' speaks for itself. The description does not note whether it remains or dissolves however...

Other Information

The fact that the finished article 'tastes like a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick', suggests the sharpness, if not the taste, of fresh lemon in the final product. It may also be inferred, from the remainder of the description, that it is very, very, potent.

Going by the television series, the final drink is a light green colour and served in a wine glass, suggesting small measures are used (unless making up multiple servings).

Putting It All Together

So what should it be? Well...

  • It should contain strong gin (possibly freeze-distilled).

  • The drink should be at least slightly fizzy, to represent the marsh gas. This could be achieved by either using a fizzy ingredient or by carbonating the mixture using something like a SodaStream.

  • It should smell pleasant, as suggested by both the marsh gas and the hypermint extract.

  • It should have at least a subtle minty flavour.

  • It should taste fairly spicy.

  • It should have some form of powder or sprinkles on top.

  • It should have the sharpness of biting into a lemon and, possibly, some flavour of lemon.

  • It should be light green in colour.

  • It should be served with an olive.

  • It should be served cold (ingredients from the freezer, or shaken with ice).

  • It should be very potent.

This still leaves the properties of ingredients one and three unknown, except that they are likely to be some sort of spirits. The 'sea' water may also be supposed to be an aqueous (water-based) liquid of some kind.

Suggested Ingredients

  • Strong white rum, kept in the freezer.
  • Cheap, fizzy, cider.
  • Cubes of strong gin, previously made in the freezer ice tray.
  • Some form of mint liqueur for flavour, aroma and colour.
  • Lemon oil - not too much.
  • A dash of green Tabasco.
  • A sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • An olive, to serve.


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