Swallow this: I made a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster for Towel Day

Don't panic. It is possible to make a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster from "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" right here on your home planet. Just follow our recipe.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
3 min read

I'm making a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. According to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," it's "the best drink in existence." Drinking one feels "like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick." I'm a little scared, but I'm going to do it anyway and I'm just in time for Towel Day on May 25.

Towel Day is dedicated to the life and work of Douglas Adams, the man behind the "Hitchhiker's Guide." That also makes him the creative smartypants behind the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, a drink so potent it's described as "the alcoholic equivalent of a mugging." Credit for the actual creation of the beverage goes to the former president of the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Here is the basic recipe for a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster: One bottle of that Ol' Janx Spirit. One measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V. Three cubes of Arcturan mega-gin. Four liters of Fallian marsh gas. A measure of Qualactin Hypermint extract. The tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Zamphour. Olive.

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

My Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster comes on strong and then lingers.

Amanda Kooser/CNET

Some of these ingredients are incredibly hard to source here on Earth, with the Algolian Suntiger perhaps being the most elusive. Here's what I'm doing instead:

Ol' Janx Spirit is the drink of choice for Orion miners and the subject of a telepsychic drinking game. I figure the Earth equivalent is rye, a form of whiskey popular among early miners in the US. I'm using High West Rendezvous Rye for my Gargle Blaster.

Water from the seas of Santraginus V is difficult to procure, so I'm using a close approximation: Fever-Tree Indian tonic water, a clean-tasting, less sweet and more aromatic version of standard-issue grocery store tonic water. Bonus feature: it's already carbonated with a stand-in for Fallian marsh gas.

The Arcturan Mega-gin is actually quite close in flavor to standard gins on our planet, so I'm going for the easy solution of using Tanqueray. However, the recipe specifies that it comes in cubes and "it must be properly iced." Taking into account the citrusy description for the drink, I formed the Tanqueray into chilled cubes by mixing it up into lemon-flavored Jell-O shots.

For Towel Day, whip up a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster (pictures)

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Qualactin Hypermint extract is described as being "redolent of all the heady odours of the dark Qualactin Zones, subtle sweet and mystic." No problem. My liquor cabinet contains Wondermint, a schnapps liqueur flavored with peppermint, almond, rosewater and wormwood. It is the very definition of "subtle sweet and mystic."

I have been unable to procure the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger, but we do know it is said to "dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian Suns deep into the heart of the drink." The best I can come up with here is replicating the color action, so I'm adding a dash of deep-red Campari, a fruity and herbal Italian aperitif. I'm subscribing to the theory that Zamphour is crushed ice. At least the olive part is easy.

Follow the photo gallery above for specific instructions on making my version of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. Of course, what you really want to know is "What in the galaxy does it taste like?" It tastes like an herb garden smells. It looks like a sunset over Algolia. It makes you feel as strong as an Orion miner. You smile like you're caught in the pleasure marshes of Arcturus. It's weird as hell. But most of all, it goes great with a towel. Happy Towel Day, fellow Hikers.