Upon playing VA-11 HALL-A last year, I realised that I have very particular tastes: specifically, I love cyberpunk bartending and relationship simulators. It’s barely an exaggeration to say it was the highlight of last year’s gaming roster for me, with its nonsense ingredients, quirky patrons and existential pondering. So, when 2064: Read Only Memories came to the PS4 in Europe last month and to the Vita a few days ago, I finally got round to putting more puzzle pieces together in the joint universe of Neo-SF.
Such was my excitement that I decided it was time to break out the liquor cabinet (i.e. a bottle of Absolut that has been sat in our freezer for well over a year after a Halloween party) and try to recreate some of the beverages served in Neo-SF’s hotspot, the Stardust. My goals? To do it on a pauper’s budget, to make cocktails that even a moron such as myself could replicate, and not to barf. Of course, I got off to a good start on the third aim, given that I picked recipes containing 1) milk and 2) energy drinks.
So, were my attempts a success? Would Gus approve of my efforts, or did I make pure pig swill?
I’m pleased to report that all of my attempts were at least somewhat successful! So, instead of following my original plan of writing up a failed chemistry experiment, I’m going to give you the recipes for some delightful drinks to slurp down while chatting away with Turing. Enjoy!
1. Natasha Allegri
As far as spiked milks go, this one ain’t half bad!
Named after the comic book artist and storyboard revisionist for Adventure Time, I knew I had to try out this drink because it involves milk. OK, OK, I wimped out on using dairy milk. Come on, guys, I didn’t go into this challenge trying to give myself an upset stomach.
I happen to prefer chocolate soy milk to chocolate cow milk anyway, since a lot of dairy chocolate milk isn’t as thick and soy milk has a slightly nutty, savoury aftertaste. The original recipe calls for Everclear (close to 100% proof alcohol) but alas, I do not have a death wish, so I used the leftover Absolut.
I should have guessed that this would work pretty well, given Baileys is the drink of the gods, but I had one or two rough rides with White Russians in the past. So I went into this one a bit sceptical. It actually turned out quite well!
- 200ml chilled chocolate milk (I used soy milk, but any chocolate milk will do)
- 1 shot Everclear or vodka (I used vodka)
1. Pour the chocolate milk into a measuring jug.
2. Add the shot of vodka.
3. Stir well for 2 minutes.
4. Pour into a glass and serve.
Note: using 1 shot of vodka just leaves a slight aftertaste, so go for a double if you really want to feel the punch of vodka. Adding vodka to soy milk causes a small amount of marbling, so make sure you combine well; there may be a greater reaction on combining the milk and vodka, depending on the type of milk you choose.
Basically a vodka-orange, so you can’t go wrong
This was my favourite drink out of the whole lot, and reminds me of the cheapo cocktails our university bar used to serve. Chucking four shots of vodka in an orange juice is a highly efficient and quite dangerous way to get plastered, so of course, this concoction was upchucked by the freshers almost as a rite of passage. My version is much classier, though, because it requires blood orange juice. No ordinary peasant orange juice will do.
- 200ml blood orange juice
- 2 shots of vodka
- 1/2 juice of a lime
- 1/2 juice of a lemon
- crushed ice
1. Pour the blood orange juice into a measuring jug.
2. Squeeze in the lime juice and lemon juice, then give a quick mix.
3. Add the vodka and mix well.
4. Put the crushed ice in a glass, pour the mixture over it and serve.
The blood orange juice is a lot stronger than plain old orange juice, so it really needs a lot of lemon and lime juice – and vodka – to counteract it. As a result, while it could be served as a single-measure drink, this one’s better as a double. But it’s so tasty you’ll want several, so be careful!
(Note: village idiot here completely forgot about the ice, but it was still very good indeed.)
3. Hassy Spike
The recipe is very non-canon, but still a great vodka-energy drink cocktail.
OK, so I went entirely off-piste with this recipe and decided to go with the spirit of the name (heh), rather than following the in-game description of the drink. This is because as I was planning for this article, I realised how much of a nightmare energy drinks are to work with when making cocktails. And I love energy drinks. I desperately wanted to make a Hassy recipe, but a lot of them made me want to yack or required ingredients I’m too broke to buy for one-off use.
The Hassy Spike is canonically make using Hassy Hot and Korean soju, served as a warm drink. Now, the idea of heating up Monster was never on the table, and I don’t even know where I would source soju in Hamburg. Instead, I thought of what “spike” and “hot” meant to me. It’s a Hassy drink, so it has to have energy drink in it. But what about the “hot” flavouring coming from ginger, and the “spike” being a sour aftertaste? Now we’re getting somewhere!
(Note: this drink involves preparing ingredients in advance, so leave yourself some time to do that!)
- 100g energy drink (I used unflavoured Monster Ultra)
- 1 inch ginger
- 100ml cranberry juice (I used diet Ocean Spray, but see my comments below)
- 1/2 juice of a lime
- 1 shot vodka
- crushed ice
1. Cut the ginger into chunks and peel away the skin.
2. Pour the cranberry juice into a fridge-safe vessel and add the chunks of ginger. Seal and leave to steep for a few hours.
3. Once the juice has steeped, add the energy drink to a measuring jug.
4. Filter the cranberry-juice mixture into the measuring jug to remove the chunks of ginger. Mix gently (to avoid making the drink flat).
5. Squeeze the lime juice into the measuring jug.
6. Add the shot of vodka to the measuring jug.
7. Give a final, gentle mix.
8. Put crushed ice into a glass, pour over the mixture and serve.
This drink was pretty great, but I have a couple of suggestions for all you covert mixologists trying it out. I let the cranberry and ginger sit for about two hours while I went to the gym, and while I could taste the spicy ginger in the background, it was nowhere near as punchy as I wanted. There are few things you can try to improve the ginger ratio: add 2 inches instead of 1 inch of ginger, or less it sit overnight. Either way, you should then take more care with filtering the juice afterwards, since there’s likely to be shreds floating in it, rather than just the chunks of ginger you put in at the start.
The energy drink I picked is the “unflavoured” variety of diet Monster, but it still has a bit of a lemonade aftertaste to it. As a result, I could barely tell that it was a vodka-energy drink cocktail. If you use something with an even more standard energy drink taste, such as standard Red Bull or non-diet Monster, the drink may be more sugary but it may taste more artificial.
I would also probably advise using a different brand of cranberry juice than Ocean Spray, at least not the diet version. The cranberry taste in that juice is quite bland, and so the drink tasted more of lemonade than of berries; the juice provided colouring more than anything. I would have probably liked the drink to be heavier on berries, so next time I’ll go for another sort of cranberry juice.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with how this challenge turned out! I may not be a master cocktail maker, but I know how to knock a few ingredients together on the fly to make something that tastes and looks pretty good. Maybe one of these drinks recipes might be a candidate for your next game-themed party; if not, there are plenty of other cool recipes out there on the net.
Would you like to try any of these recipes? Do you have any of your own, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, to share with other drink enthusiasts? Let me know in the comments down below!