Musical pairing – Star Trek Theme
You know, Romulan Ale is illegal. It’s against Starfleet Regulations to serve or carry it on any ships. Of course, you might not know that if you’ve never watched any Star Trek shows or movies. You might not even know what Romulan Ale is. I’ll tell you, it is the blue-tinged Everclear of the science fiction universe. A drink so potent and powerful that the fictional United Federation of Planets banned it altogether. You see, in the future we will all drink synthehol. An alcohol substitute that offers Starfleet members all the benefits of a cocktail without any of the pesky side effects of our lesser evolved fermented Earth beverages.
Romulan Ale has fascinated me from childhood. As a lifelong Trekkie, I watched Captain Picard give it away as a gift on diplomatic missions, always in some beautiful glass bottle. Captain Kirk served it to some Klingons in an attempt to prove that he could rebel with the best of them. (In case you didn’t know, the Klingons are sort of like the well-organized biker gang of the stars and they need to be reassured when working with any outsiders that there is much machismo and toughness involved or they walk away.)
I usually assume that nobody knows as much as I do about Star Trek and I usually wouldn’t even begin a blog with this barrage of nerd-laced trivia. But when I sheepishly arrived at the liquor store at 10am this morning to hunt down what I needed for my Romulan Ale recipe, some of those preconceived notions about who knows what about geeky sci-fi television shows changed.
You know I’ve recently moved to Florida for a brand new post-grad school start. So I’m perpetually lost here among the palm trees and strip malls. Pair that with the fact that I’m exhausted from moving, already buried under loads of work and suffering some of the normal cultural and emotional adjustments of moving over a thousand miles away from home and quite frankly, I need a cocktail. After visiting The Kennedy Space Center for the very first time to cover the arrival of “Star Trek: The Exhibition”, I was feeling more than a little inspired.
Most of the Romulan Ale recipes that I found online were made with that aforementioned Everclear and some sort of blue food coloring. Everclear is not something I felt up to experimenting with, so I hunted for a recipe that wouldn’t make me feel like I needed to carry my liquor purchase under cover of night wearing a big trench coat. I’m too fragile for a liquor-induced shame spiral right now. The recipe I eventually tracked down called for equal parts…are you ready for this? Triple Sec, Vodka, Blue Curacao and our only innocent bystander, Lemonade. Not quite the namby-pambied down version of Romulan Ale I was hoping for.
My schedule limited me to a couple of hours to track down what I needed for the recipe and it hadn’t been an easy hunt so far. I had been to Target, Publix and one liquor store previously looking for this fabled Blue Curacao that I needed to finish off the recipe. I was grumpy. I was in my workout clothes. I was wandering the aisles looking lost when the store manager came over to help me. He apologized, but said they were out. I stormed out of the store feeling like a slighted Klingon.
Just as I put my hand on the handle to my car door, he came running after me. “Wait, we just got a shipment in!” I followed him back into the store feeling the flush of embarrassment and the need to explain myself. As he worked with the delivery man to rip a bottle out of its cardboard box I told them, “I’m not usually out this early in the morning trying to hunt down random liquor.”
“Oh, what’s it for?” he asked. I tried to give him the shortest explanation possible. “I’m a blogger, I’m experimenting with food and drinks I’ve always wanted to try from movies. I need this for a recipe.”
“What recipe?” he asked as he rang me up. “Romulan Ale, it’s this drink from the Star Trek shows and movies.” I laughed awkwardly feeling like I was back in high school. Queen Nerd of the Acne People. From behind me the delivery guy piped up, “Hey, that’s against Starfleet Regulations.” He was smiling as he scribbled something on a clipboard. We immediately began a long and in-depth conversation about Trek. Finding another Trekkie in this strange new land was like being at home all of the sudden. We talked for several minutes and I came home to shake myself a Romulan Ale in my fancy silver cocktail shaker. (It’s the kind with the recipes written all over it, though curiously enough…Romulan Ale is nowhere to be found.)
I poured my icy blue concoction into my Captain Kirk tumbler from Burger King. (Believe it or not, I stood in front of my kitchen cabinet debating for a good minute about which Star Trek glass to actually use. I have roughly a dozen. I almost poured it into one of my Indiana Jones tumblers just to be sassy, but the incongruity of universe would bother me.) I took one sip and almost keeled over. Now I know why it’s illegal. With equal parts alcohol, alcohol, yet more alcohol and a splash of lemonade it was too much for me. Way too much. But it sure was beautiful. Beautiful all the way down the drain.
Maybe the next time I have a biker gang over for dinner…
Oh and if you’re ever a lonely little geek lost in the Orlando area and looking for Romulan Ale ingredients, I highly recommend shopping at Florida Liquors 1002. You can’t go wrong with any store where you can find a Trekkie.
Equal parts: Triple Sec, Vodka, Blue Curacao and Lemonade
Mix and drink up!
Audrey Brown is a freelance journalist and voice over artist. She recently completed her M.A. in Creative Writing and was once mentioned in the Huffington Post by documentary director Mark Edlitz for her feminist thoughts on Princess Leia’s gold bikini. Audrey lives in Florida with her husband Jake and it is entirely possible that you will see the two of them running wild through Walt Disney World on any given day. If you wave at them, just remember that the Vulcan hand signal is just their way of waving back and not an obscene gesture. You can find Audrey at her blog Born For Geekdom.