One Trek Mind #8: Drink For Thought
By Jordan Hoffman - December 27, 2011
As we proceed to that moment in spacetime known as New Year's Eve, we may all feel compelled to pop a cork. In moderation, there's nothing quite like spirits that can raise your spirits, especially if accompanied by a Klingon drinking song.
The canonical works of Star Trek know all about the pros and cons of inebriation. (Don't believe me? Ask Data and Tasha Yar.) With this in mind, we'd like to close out the year with our 10 favorite drinks in the galaxy. Two rules apply, of course. The first is never drink and warp. The second – NO SYNTHEHOL!
10 - Saurian Brandy
A standard social refreshment about starships, Saurian Brandy works as both a diplomatic aperitif as well as when a crewman is looking to get sloshed. Its most notable appearance was in TOS's “By Any Other Name,” when Scotty used the two-fisted weapon of his welcoming Scottish demeanor and a bottle of the stuff to get the Kelvan named Tomar disarmingly drunk.
Saurian Brandy usually comes in a sleek glass bottle with a long, curved neck. The Saurians themselves are a race of bipedal lizards that, alas, rarely made appearances onscreen.
9 – Kanar
Quark stocked the stuff at all times, never quite sure when a thirsty Spoonhead might stop by. When the Dominion War heated up, the conflicted Damar found himself developing a real dependence on it. The good guys used this to their advantage in “Behind the Lines,” getting him drunk to glean information. This led to one of the goofiest gags in all of Trek, when a completely sloshed Quark barged into Kira's quarters in and announced “I just shared a bottle of Kanar with Damar. That rhymes!”
Trust me, Shimerman can make that line work.
8 – Slusho Mix
Let's ride a red matter-induced black hole to a different reality. It's a place where the Enterprise is built on Earth (I know, I know) and where Kirk hits on Uhura in a bar.
When we follow Zoe Saldana as she bounds into the Riverside Shipyard Bar (and who wouldn't follow her?) she takes the bartender's advice and tries the Slusho Mix in addition to Klavnian fire tea, Budweiser Classic and a Cardassian Sunrise.
This faux-Japanese icy beverage is, of course, a tie-in to the broader J.J. Abrams mythology of Alias, Cloverfield and Super 8... which you either think is kinda cool or forces you into an uncontrollable rage.
7 - Altair Water
Okay, this has been a lot of alcohol so far. It is important to pace yourself when you are boozing. It is good to mix in some pure H20, lest you actually dehydrate yourself.
And not just any water, but Altair Water! Sure, the environmental impact of such a far-away import may be something fierce – Altair is 16.7 light years from Earth – but there's got to be something special in this stuff. I mean, even Spock drinks it.
In fact, Spock likes it so much the lifeforce of his Katra urges McCoy to order it for him in The Search for Spock. Something as healthy as Altair Water isn't Bones' usual poison, but the Vulcan-led doctor is quick to bark back that “to expect one to order poison in a bar is not logical!”
6 – Snail Juice
The wife could never get into DS9 because she got creeped out by the Ferengi. We'd argue with her, “they're funny! And well-rounded so as not to simply be objects of ridicule! Give 'em a chance!” Then she'd see Quark's teeth and charge out of the room shouting “they're so gross! I can't look at them!”
We knew enough to leave it alone, lest we ever wish for another session of oo-mox.
We bring this all up because, yes, OF COURSE Ferengi drink something as disgusting as Snail Juice. (And Rom liked his with extra shells.)
5 – Raktajino
Raktajino is played off as simple “Klingon coffee,” but we find it hard to believe that anything Klingon doesn't come with an extra kick. The way the senior staff on Deep Space Nine all drank the stuff, you can certainly say that it has some addictive properties.
Those with sharp memories will recall that there's something in Raktajino that is intoxicating to Talarians (see season five's “A Simple Investigation.”) So who knows how it would affect an early 21st century Terran?
4 - Aldeberan Whiskey
We get the impression that Aldeberan Whiskey is the kind of drink that only gets pulled out for special occasions. Guinan had a bottle that was a gift from Captain Picard and Quark maintained a private stock.
It was Aldeberan Whiskey that Data poured for Scotty when he found himself alive one generation later in the fan favorite episode “Relics.” And if it is good enough for the old Aberdeen pub-crawler, it is good enough for us.
3 – Bloodwine
It is warm. It comes in a barrel. And if you are Worf, you like it very young and very sweet.
There is no finer beverage to quaff than bloodwine when you are singing songs of glory.
May we all one day know the honor of dying in battle so we may drink with Kahless in Sto-vo-kor from a source as boundless as the River Skral! Q'aplaH!
2 – Romulan Ale
Romulan Ale is the most difficult beverage to get your hands on in the Federation. And perhaps we should be grateful – this clear blue brew really packs a punch. Even a mighty warrior like Worf can be felled by a Romulan Ale hangover if Nemesis is to be believed. (Though maybe he was also feeling the effects of the B-4 subplot.)
Most notably, Bones gave Kirk a bottle (of the 2283 vintage) when the captain was sulking in San Francisco on his birthday in The Wrath of Khan. Then he started yelling at him and cursing and accusing him of turning into an antique. Yeah, Bones can really be a pain in the ass friend some times.
1 – Tea, Earl Grey (Hot)
After New Year's Eve comes New Year's Day. It's cold, it's bright and you are going to need something to brace you. Tea, Earl Grey (Hot) is the gentlemanly drink that will make it so.
Did we leave out your poison? Logical or not, let us know in the comments! And have a safe, happy New Year!!
Jordan Hoffman was the movies editor at UGO.com for more than four years. He has produced two independent films (look 'em up!) and is a member of the New York Film Critics Online. In 2005, he was named the Ultimate Film Fanatic of the NorthEast by IFC. Jordan fell in love with Star Trek through TOS reruns just as TNG was getting ready to launch. On his BLOG, Jordan has reviewed all 727 Trek episodes and films, most of the comics and some of the novels. He has a funny story about the one time he met Leonard Nimoy.
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