*Image courtesy of Cafe Hemingways

Recently I have been looking at the industry, comparing it to when I first started flairing back in 2002. Back then, the bar scene was very different. It was mostly about one thing – having fun!

Personally, I feel that we are taking drinks a bit too seriously these days. What happened to those tall, colourful expressions that we used to love serving because of the response from our guests when the cocktail landed? I guess it’s to be expected with the shift to a culinary view on cocktails – the drinks back then were mostly sugar and packed with cheap liquor.  

However, I am seeing across social media that those old school fun drinks are trying to make a bit of a revival. The one I am focusing on here is the one that most can’t pronounce after having a few… The Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster! This was a monstrous cocktail that was built and frozen and served in a 500ml Bavaria glass. It was hugely popular around South Africa in the late 90s and early 2000s and is the very definition of a fun drink. I have never seen a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster land at a table without smiles all around.

This drink was referenced in Douglas Adams’ book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It was said to be the most amazing drink in existence, although the recipe below doesn’t resemble the original (intergalactic ingredients are a little hard to source.) 

This cocktail is by no means a difficult drink to make and is certainly not a mixology masterpiece, but it is a great conversation starter. I prefer to use the ODK gluten-free syrups from Italy as they have a lower sugar content than other syrups on the market. So, here is my recipe for a kick-ass happy-go-lucky Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

Section 1:
50ml Vodka
10ml ODK Pomegranate syrup
20ml ODK Peach Purée
Orange Juice to fill to ¾ full.

Section 2:
25ml Light rum
25ml ODK Tropical Blue Syrup
20ml Fresh Lime juice

  • First pour the ODK Pomegranate Syrup (grenadine also works well) into the glass, add ice to ¾ full, then add the vodka and peach purée).
  • Fill with orange juice to the desired level, leaving space for the blended part.
  • Blend the vodka, ODK Tropical Blue Syrup and fresh lime juice until smooth but not too runny. Generally, one scoop of ice is enough for this consistency.
  • Layer the blue slush to the top of the glass.
  • Don’t be afraid to go over the top with your garnish – think pineapple leaves, cherries and orange slices.

Liquid to lip brands and Flair for Life promote responsible drinking. Don’t drink and drive.

  • Keegan Smith
    Keegan Smith
    Keegan Smith from Barsmith Cocktail Co specialises in flair bartending, bottled cocktails and mobile bar services. He has almost 20 years’ experience in bartending, is a multiple SA flair bartending champion and founder of Flair for Life foundation. Get in touch with him for bespoke, on-site bartender training in bartending ethics, mixology and practical working flair. Email Keegan on hello@barsmithcocktail.com or phone 076 674 6357.
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