Author of 'The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy,' and owner of Brooklyn's 'Doctor Who'-themed bar on how he creates his drinks.
The age of the geek is upon us. The most popular, highest grossing movies in America are based on comic books. There’s a new Star Trek show on television. Star Wars is in the midst of its long-awaited revival. Now, Andy Heidel, the owner of the Brooklyn bar the Way Station, which is known for the big blue telephone box in the back that serves as it’s bathroom, a loving nod to the British sci-fi staple Doctor Who, is taking advantage of the surge in interest in all things nerd-culture to release his collection cocktail recipes based on the most popular fandoms out there—everything from Game of Thrones, and Back to the Future, to Star Wars, and of course Doctor Who.
His new book, The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy, out today, is a testament to his obsession with sci-fi, as much as it is an ode to his chosen profession as a bar owner and bartender. Heidel says that collection, which is packed with recipes arranged by book, television show, or movie, as well his tips for bar-goers and anecdotes from his adventures in bartending, is “absolutely [paying tribute] to these are fandoms that I grew up on. Growing up I was teased for it, and now it's becoming mainstream.”
The recipes themselves come from all over sci-fi, including from obscure shows like Farscape, but you’ll find Heidel’s love letters to the classics here, too. There are 13 Star Trek-themed cocktails—from the more obvious choices like Romulan Ale and Klingon Bloodwine, to cleverer concoctions like the Jameson T. Kirk.
“For the Jameson T. Kirk, I wanted Jameson in it, to make it really strong and really smoky and have some swagger to it,” Heidel explains.
But in the other cases, Heidel came up with the name of the cocktail first, then decided on the ingredients, like in the case of the Chest Burster (a reference to the Alien franchise, in case you didn't know).
“Scotch is really difficult to create a drinkable cocktail by itself, but I wanted to make something that would really burn in the chest,” he says. “We came up with the name first, and then it made sense to make a cocktail with scotch.”
As he was inventing the cocktails for his books, he tested out different versions on Way Station regulars, who provided some input on which drinks ended up in the book.
“With some [drinks], it would go through three or four or seven incarnations. The best feedback was when they would say ‘I would order that,’” Heidel says.
In fact, the people who hang out at the Way Station played a central role in bringing the book to life: One of his regulars, name Teresa Galus, always had her sketchbook out when she stopped by for a drink, so Heidel recruited her to help illustrate the book.
Heidel hopes that his book is accessible, not just to people who enjoy these fandoms or who are expert mixologists. He calls the book “very practical,” and emphasizes that people who don’t have a drawer full of bar tools will still be able to recreate his cocktails.
“Trust your instincts," Heidel explains, reassuringly. "Sometimes you’ll make a mistake but the mistake is part of your learning process. I was working on a Will and Grace cocktail…and the very first cocktail was horrible. You have to fail in order to succeed, and it’s not the end of the world if you make a bad drink.”
If you want to try one of Heidel's cocktails check the recipe below.
Jameson T. Kirk
1 1/2 ounces Jameson whiskey
1 1/2 ounces mezcal
3/4 ounce Cointreau
Pour the whiskey, mezcal, and Cointreau in a small glass full of ice. Top with ginger beer.
You can find The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy on Amazon ($15) and you can find Heidel at The Way Station (683 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY)