We are attempting to survive our time so that we may live into yours”
President Jimmy Carter’s golden record message
June 16th, 1977
past Summer was a busy one for me , I mean obviously , I’ve not posted since April, shame on me ! Amongst my distractions these last few months was a project that had me creating space themed drinks ,more specifically inspired by “The Farthest” a documentary that aired on PBS a few days ago , produced by Tangled Bank Studios, that charted the journey of the two Voyager space crafts , their inception and the last forty years that they have spent hurtling through our solar system and into the next.
The two Voyagers were sent out both on a fact finding mission to document and report back on our neighboring planets that till then were just blurry orbs in the night sky , more importantly in the long run Voyager’s mission is also as a message in a bottle to let other civilizations ( that for sure exist, I mean ours can’t be the only planet out in the universe sustaining life right ? ) know us humans are here on Earth. Or perhaps I should say were here on Earth because by the time the two crafts are discovered by them and by the rate we’re going our race will no longer have the ability to live on this beautiful rock we are custodians of.
Conceptualized at Caltech in Pasadena with the driving force of scientist Karl Sagan behind it , Voyager is about the size of a small school bus and was launched by NASA in 1977, I watched the film to get my creative juices flowing and ended up having a bit of an existential crises panic attack sort of thing . I’m a fairly spiritual sort of dame and have imagined myself in many a yoga class as a part of something much much bigger, knowing I’m a tiny insignificant speck but this sent my mind whirring into the depths of the unknown, the future, our current destructive path etc.
With their main objectives decided , how to build something that would withstand that kind of journey tasked the group of scientists , inventors and dreamers with some serious problem solving . My first drink offering pays homage to that dream or wish to create one of the most fantastic achievements of exploration , its title also happens to be one of the opening songs in the film’s soundtrack by Rose Royce, the song also released at the height of the Disco era in 1977. The cocktail is riff on a pina colada complete with disco dust and stars.
Wishing On A Star
Cocktail ingredients :
2 oz silver tequila or mezcal blended with E3 Live Blue Majik spirulina
( 1 liter bottle + 6 capsules spirulina blended on high in for 3o seconds )
1 oz John D Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
1 oz pineapple syrup ( equal parts pineapple juice and cane sugar )
1/8 oz vanilla extract
Foam ingredients :
1 x 12 oz can thai coconut milk
2 oz lime juice
5 oz pineapple syrup
1/2 oz vanilla extract
For the foam make sure all ingredients are chilled and pour into a chilled ISI gun, charge once with No2, test to make sure foam is whipped enough to your liking ( should look like a beer foam not whipped cream)
For the cocktail, add all ingredients to your shaker tin with 4-5 ice cubes and shake for 3 seconds .
Strain into a chilled vessel of your choice
Top with the coconut foam , a sprinkle of edible disco dust and star shaped apple cut outs that have been dusted with the blue spirulina .
Another iconic song from the soundtrack , also released in 77 is “Us and Them” from Pink Floyd, and one of my personal favorites , “Us and them, and after all we’re only ordinary men ” the song is about war, two sides fighting for different causes, in this case its used to illustrate the possibility of connection and communication , sending Voyager out there as a literal message in a bottle, each module was equipped with a 2 hour long play golden disc that contained songs , greetings and images , the instructions engraved like hieroglyphics on how to retrieve the messages.
The drink I thought would work well here is a charcoal black Penicillin variation , the blackness of space represented by the charcoal , the drink is also laced with silver disco dust to represent stars and for my message an edible xerox printed “Hello” for the earthly greeting .
Us + Them
2 oz scotch whisky that has been blended with edible charcoal
( the same process as above, 1 liter bottle of whisky to 3 activated charcoal capsules , blended on high . Allow the charcoal to sit in the whisky for an hour or so to give it time to complete its absorption process, you see charcoal is used to negate toxins in the body except that it doesn’t know what is a toxin and what is a necessary medicine , if you get my drift )
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz ginger syrup
1/2 oz honey syrup ( 1:1 honey to hot water )
edible silver disco dust
edible xerox ( optional )
Add all liquid ingredients to your shaker tin + 2-3 dashes of edible silver disco dust
Shake for 3 seconds with 4-5 ice cubes
Strain into a chilled vessel of choice
Garnish as desired with or without greeting
One of the problems the Team faced was how to prevent radioactive waves from interfering with the delicate cables on the exterior of Voyager , these magnetic fields could undo all their hard work , frying those conduits. The simplest solution was to protect portions of the space craft with that pantry essential aluminum foil, each cable was wrapped up like a Holiday turkey to seal in all its goodness . My drink is a play on a Saketini, using a combination of unfiltered Nigori sake for both sweetness and opacity and pisco for flavor , the radio active glow comes from liquid activated non-toxic light cubes , that light up our journey and the glass , the whole shebang wrapped in colored hair dresser’s foils ( used for highlights and available in an array of vibrant colors from peacock blue to black ).
1 oz Nigori sake
1 oz Capurro pisco ( my preference is Torontel )
1 oz lychee calpico
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz 1:1 simple syrup
a spritz of absinthe to finish
Wrap your glass with aluminum foil and set aside
Add all ingredients to your shaker with 5 ice cubes and shake for 3 seconds
Strain into aluminum wrapped glass
Spritz Absinthe over the top
Serve with a short metal straw
The most important problem to solve was a crucial step for the Scientists , how to catapult the Voyager space crafts through our solar system and out into intergalactic space once they ran out of fuel . The answer was to use Jupiter’s orbital speed . As Voyager travelled around the planet this assist from Jupiter is the force that hurls the ship in an arc as if it was a sling shot , the power of this force sending it on its journey . The major hurdle here was that the planets had to be in exact alignment , an event that only happens once every one hundred and seventy six years.
My last creation also uses gravity to assist the build of this drink , my inspiration the luminescent colors of a super nova , Butterfly blue pea tea is the color component that when introduced to citrus changes its color to a vibrant purple, in order to make the purple sink to the bottom elderflower liqueur and simple syrup is added to make its density greater ( heavier ) than the rest of drink . The drink itself is a riff on a Tom collins and is finished off with a champagne elderflower foam that gets whipped up with a milk frother .
For the denser portion of the drink :
1/2 bottle Giffard elderflower liqueur ( contains citric acid so this will start the color change to a deep violet )
3 oz simple syrup 1:1 ratio sugar to water
1/ 2 cup of butterfly blue pea tea
Add all ingredients to a ziplock bag and either soul vide for 1 hours at 55 degrees or hacked sous vide by placing baggie in a container of hot water to speed up the infusion process .
Strain out flowers when mixture is a dark violet
For the lighter, blue portion of the drink :
1 liter boiling water
1/2 cup butterfly blue pea tea
Steep tea flowers in boiling water for 1 hour
Strain out flowers when the tea is a dark blue
For the foam :
1 cup flat champagne ( or dry white wine )
1/2 cup of Gifford elderflower liqueur .
1 teaspoon texturas sucro ( a sugar ester )
Add all ingredients to a high sided container such as a liter sized lidded deli cup
Using a milk frother ( I love the one from Cafe Casa for its superior power ) whip together the ingredients until your mix doubles in size, half of which should be a fine foam .
Re- froth when ready to use .
For the drink you will need :
1 oz violet elderflower syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
2 oz dry gin such as Fords gin
2-3 oz soda water
1/2 -1 oz of blue pea tea
1-2 teaspoons of champagne foam for garnish
Build this drink directly in a chilled tall glass such as a collins highball .
Add lemon juice and elderflower syrup to bottom of glass and stir
Add ice cubes and optional non-toxic light cubes for drama .
Pour in gin and top with soda water, leave about an inch space from the top of the glass
Pour in the blue pea tea, This should float above the purple layer
Top with champagne foam
Serve with a metal straw
To watch The Farthest for yourself check out your local listings on PBS , an encore performance will be shown on September 13th .