Introduction “Gi’e us your glass.”Scotty, ‘By Any Other Name,’ TOS
Have you tasted a Samarian Sunset? Or blown your taste buds away with a Warp Core Breach? The chances are you have never left planet Earth... But we can dream. Alongside the thrill of discovering the universe, the allure and peril of the world of drink is a thread running through man’s attempt to explore the unknown.
“Sometimes a man’ll tell his bartender things he’ll never tell his doctor.” This line, from Dr. Boyce to Captain Pike, is from ‘The Cage,’ STAR TREK’s first pilot episode. The martini Boyce makes was the first drink in that futuristic world, and made it very clear that alcohol was not going to be outmoded in the 23rd century. Gene Roddenberry, creator of the show, was full of visionary notions – a world without prejudice, inequality, poverty or materialism. But the Great Bird of the Galaxy was wise enough to know that a future with no recognizable human behavior would have viewers in the present switching off.
At the time the first series was made, drinking was very much part of the social glue. Viewers might accept a future without smoking (Star Trek was prophetic in its removal of tobacco from society), but a world of friends, work pals, comrades in arms, without the odd glass together? Hard to imagine.
STAR TREK has been called “Wagon Train to the stars,” after the popular NBC Western of the time, and drink is used in the first series very much as it is used in the Western genre ... to start fights, and then ... well, to make up after them. It is also there for comedy, with suitably goofy incidental music to let us know such folly was not to be taken too seriously. In the world of drinking, there were certain unwritten rules. Anyone with Scottish or Irish origins was allowed to get seriously (meaning comically) drunk. In the episode, ‘By Any Other Name,’ Scotty famously helped thwart an invasion of super-intelligent aliens by drinking one of them under the table. With typical humor, Scotty was also shown to be incapacitated himself.
Drink added to the party atmosphere of possibly the most popular episode of all, ‘The Trouble With Tribbles,’ helping to lead to a barroom brawl with the Klingons. In this memorable scene, Chekov insisted that Scotch had been invented by a little old lady from Leningrad.
The captain and first officer were more restrained. When Kirk swigged some Saurian Brandy in ‘The Enemy Within,’ it was to show us the wayward behavior of his evil side, released in a transporter malfunction. It was a characteristic of the level-headed Vulcans that they did not drink alcohol.
The Original Series was, like its Western origins, inclined to turn to whisky as its tipple of choice. Scotch or bourbon was the default drink in any 60s TV series, and it required a specific plot-driven reason for any variation. With the arrival of Chekov, vodka joined the drinking menus of the future. The movies added invented dangers like Romulan ale.
In STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION Roddenberry ventured even further into the future. Here, there was a terrifying new development... synthehol, introduced in ‘Up the Long Ladder.’ This was Roddenberry’s ‘dream ticket’ for the future of drink, a computer-created copy of alcohol that left the drinker with no side- effects, namely no hangover.
Synthehol didn’t mean that drinking was consigned to the past. In fact, the opposite was true. The Enterprise’s replicators can make a perfect martini, and with the introduction of the bar Ten- Forward, drinking became even more established in the fabric of starship life. And, as Scotty discovered, Guinan has a few bottles of the real thing stashed behind the bar.
Especially in its early days, TNG had a relaxed air and the inclusion of the dimly-lit drinking lounge underlined this. It became a venue for deep conversation, intimate moments, a touch of self-analysis. The post-work drink had become an accepted part of starship life, a touch that added to the easy charm of the series.
The curious android Data became an amusing lens through which to study the human relationship with alcohol, and one scene, in STAR TREK: GENERATIONS summed this up nicely. After being fitted with an emotion chip, Data proceeded to try a drink in Ten-Forward, “a little something from Forcas III.” After trying a couple, Data is quick to conclude, “I hate this!” “More?” Guinan asks, doubtfully. “Please!” comes the reply. Synthehol was commonly used in VOYAGER, without the reservations attached to it in TNG. In fact, tough old Seven of Nine became intoxicated on one glass of synthetic champagne. The Doctor diagnosed that the Borg could not hold their liquor. In this series, the strong drink preferred by Captain Janeway was good old black coffee.
Getting together for a post-work glass or two was more fundamental to DEEP SPACE NINE, where Quark’s Bar was literally at the center of the promenade. Set on the fringes of galactic civilization, DS9 frequently used drink in its storytelling, a companion suitable for a frontier life of excess, regret, rumor, and riot.
STAR TREK took a surprise turn, back in time, for its next series: ENTERPRISE. As this reflected the earlier days of space exploration it was not unusual to find a bottle of bourbon stowed away in a shuttlepod, (which Tucker and Reed did). Again, alcohol was used to loosen tongues and bring characters together.
In the recent series, DISCOVERY (once again, set before the original), drink is part of the crew’s life. ‘Magic to Make The Sanest Man Go Mad’ shows a wild party on board the U.S.S. Discovery. Tilly’s post-work de-stressing involves bouncing a ping-pong ball into a glass of beer. Such letting down of hair was unheard of in any earlier versions of STAR TREK and probably says more about the loosening up of the society that made the show, than anything else.
STAR TREK: PICARD was keen to make the statement that this was a show for grown-ups. Years after Seven of Nine was so vulnerable to mere synthehol, she is fond of “bourbon, straight up.” Raffi, Picard’s troubled ally, sat at La Sirena’s controls while swigging straight from the bottle.Chapter 1: First Contact (Aperitifs)Jean-Luc’s Earl Grey Martini
When contemplating your vineyard or possibly the state of galactic politics on the holo-news, this Earl Grey martini will make you feel as sophisticated as Jean-Luc Picard and as chilled out as a retired Starfleet admiral. Picard would certainly admire the careful planning required to prepare your cold Earl Grey tea. If your replicator is on the blink then you will enjoy making use of the real thing: fragrant, loose leaf Earl Grey tea. Taken early in the evening, this refined tipple will soon have you ready to say, “Let’s see what’s out there...”
Place ingredients in a mixing glass and stir well.
Strain the liquid into a teacup or martini glass and garnish with lemon.
2fl oz/50ml gin
11/4fl oz/35ml cold Earl Grey tea
1fl oz/25ml lemon juice 1⁄2fl oz/12.5ml sugar syrup
Garnish: a twist of lemon peel
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