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10 Cocktails Inspired by Pop Culture

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Have you ever wanted to drink just like your favorite book, TV, movie or video game character, or at least drink a cocktail inspired by them? Well, good news. Thanks to the creativity and goofiness of many amateur mixologists, now you can, and here are some of the best cocktails based exclusively on pop culture icons.

Special thanks to The Drunken Moogle, which specializes in pop culture cocktails.

1. Harry Potter


While the Harry Potter series might be written for kids and young adults, there are enough references to Butterbeer and Firewhiskey that plenty of adult fans were inspired to create their own versions of the drinks. In fact, there just might be more butterbeer recipes out there than there are for any other drink inspired by a fictional series. While the books don’t make it clear whether butterbeer has a low-level alcoholic content or if it’s just named like root beer, if you’re looking for a real cocktail, the most delicious option might be the butterscotch schnapps, cream soda and whipped cream concoction found on Little Pink Blog.

Little Pink Blog has a whole series of Harry Potter cocktails, including drinks inspired by Hermione, Lord Voldemort, Sirius Black, and The Golden Snitch, but the most visually impressive by far is the Goblet of Fire, which contains vodka, blue Curacao, lemonade, Bacardi 151 and a pinch of cinnamon and is served flaming.

2. The Avengers

After the movie came out last summer, dozens of drink recipes appeared online based on the characters. One of the most comprehensive sets was created by Lily Mitchell and Paul Harasiwka of The More I Arty. Of the entire series, the most fitting cocktail was the God of Thunder based on Thor, which is comprised of mead, Lillehammer and lingonberry vodka.

Comic site MegaCynics also created a number of Avengers creations, with The Hulk being the most impressive. The drink starts with a Bruce Banner (1 part vanilla vodka and 4 parts club soda) and then a gamma bomb (3 drops green food coloring and one ounce of any alcohol you prefer) is dropped in the cup to create a Hulk.

3. Pokemon

If you’re into Pokemon, then you already know that they can evolve into stronger versions when they gain enough experience. So it only makes sense that their cocktails would do the same. The Drunken Moogle has three such Pokemon recipes: a Charmander, Charmeleon and Charizard; a Pichu, Pikachu and Raichu; and a Squirtle, Wartortle and Blastoise. Of the three though, the Squirtle, Wartortle and Blastoise seems the most appropriate, as each evolved level still contains the ingredients from its previous incarnation—they just keep getting stronger as they go.

4. Final Fantasy

With 14 Final Fantasy games on the market, it’s no wonder that the series has inspired so many drinks. In fact, The Drunken Moogle has 24 drinks in their archives based on the games. Unsurprisingly, many of the cocktails are based on Final Fantasy VII, which remains one of the most adored games in the series. If you want to engage in your own Final Fantasy fantasy world, you might try the Phoenix Down (above), which contains absinthe, zwack, simple syrup, grenadine and club soda.

5. Mario Bros

Similarly, Mario’s long-standing success has ensured the series has inspired its own line of cocktails. In fact, when Denmark’s Scrollbar held a Mario-themed night, they invented ten new drinks specifically for the occasion. In fact, the Yoshi (Apple Pucker, Melon Bols, lime juice and apple juice) was so popular that it was even added to their regular menu. Of course, the 1-Up shot might not have been as tasty as the Yoshi, but with white and green frosting, it certainly stole the show when it came to appearance.

If you’re looking for a seasonal geek-themed cocktail, you might want to try Yoshi’s Eggnog, which looks like Yoshi’s egg and tastes like sweet, boozy eggnog goodness.

6. Breaking Bad

Love Breaking Bad but don’t actually want to develop a meth habit just to intoxicate yourself in a fitting style? Then try a Blue Sky or a Heisenberg. The Blue Sky (above) is more appropriate for the “Crystal Blue Persuasion” aspect as the cotton candy vodka, UV Blue and Sprite blend provide a flavor and color that are more authentic. On the other hand, the Heisenberg looks cooler since it’s made with dry ice and served in an Erlenmeyer Flask, even if it is essentially just a gin and tonic with food coloring.

7. Lost

If you like incorporating dry ice into your cocktails, then you might just enjoy this Lost-themed Smoke Monster made with Sprite, mint, vodka, food coloring and, of course, dry ice.

8. Pulp Fiction

If you really want to scare your guests with your presentation, then try this Adrenaline Shot that is sure to freak out the more squeamish attendees at your next party. Of course, for those brave enough to try it, the Redbull, cherry vodka and Amaretto concoction will be a pleasing surprise that will give the guests a little shot of energy as well.

9. Resident Evil

For zombie-lovers who are also big into style and presentation, The Drunken Moogle’s drinks based on Resident Evil are a great option. Their T Virus and T Virus Antidote (above) are both basic shots with a flavored Twizzler twisted in the glass to resemble their namesakes in the game.

If you get injured while fighting the infected, you can always try to cure yourself by mixing some colored herbs together into a tasty, and pretty, shot. In this case, the red herb is made from grenadine and 5 Hour Energy; the green herb includes Midori and Green Apple Pucker and the yellow shot features gold rum and honey bourbon.

10. How I Met Your Mother

If you want a cocktail that is actually mentioned in a series, even if the writers presumably believed no one would ever actually make it, then try the Thankstini, which combines cranberry juice, potato vodka, and bullion in order to create a drink that tastes “just like a turkey dinner.” According to The Campus Companion, the flavor isn’t actually that bad, since the bullion just gives the cosmo a little splash of salt flavor.

Personally, I’m a bit of a lightweight, so if I was going to indulge in any of these, it would probably be the butterbeer or Yoshi’s eggnog since they seem the least intoxicating. But for those of you who are bigger drinkers, which of these cocktails would you prefer? Or, do you have any of your own pop culture cocktail recipes you’d like to share?

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Pop Culture
The Sweet Surprise Reunion Mr. Rogers Never Saw Coming
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For more than 30 years, legendary children’s show host Fred Rogers used his PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to educate his young viewers on concepts like empathy, sharing, and grief. As a result, he won just about every television award he was eligible for, some of them many times over.

Rogers was gracious in accepting each, but according to those who were close to the host, one honor in particular stood out. It was March 11, 1999, and Rogers was being inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame, an offshoot of the Emmy Awards. Just before being called to the stage, out came a surprise.

The man responsible for the elation on Rogers’s face was Jeff Erlanger, a 29-year-old from Madison, Wisconsin who became a quadriplegic at a young age after undergoing spinal surgery to remove a tumor. Rogers was surprised because Erlanger had appeared on his show nearly 20 years prior in 1980 to help kids understand how people with physical challenges adapt to life’s challenges. Here's his first encounter with the host:

Reunited on stage after two decades, Erlanger referred to the song, “It’s You I Like,” which the two sang during their initial meeting. “On behalf of millions of children and grown-ups,” Erlanger said, “it’s you I like.” The audience, including a visibly moved Candice Bergen, rose to their feet to give both men a standing ovation.

Following Erlanger’s death in 2007, Hedda Sharapan, an employee with Rogers’s production company, called their poignant scene “authentic” and “unscripted,” and that Rogers often pointed to it as his favorite moment from the series.

Near the end of the original segment in 1980, as Erlanger drives his wheelchair off-camera, Rogers waves goodbye and offers a departing message: “I hope you’ll come back to visit again.”

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20 Things You Might Not Have Known About Firefly
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© 2002 Twentieth Century Fox

As any diehard fan will be quick to tell you, Firefly's run was far, far too short. Despite its truncated run, the show still offers a wealth of fun facts and hidden Easter eggs. On the 15th anniversary of the series' premiere, we're looking back at the sci-fi series that kickstarted a Browncoat revolution.

1. A CIVIL WAR NOVEL INSPIRED THE FIREFLY UNIVERSE.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Killer Angels from author Michael Shaara was Joss Whedon’s inspiration for creating Firefly. It follows Union and Confederate soldiers during four days at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Whedon modeled the series and world on the Reconstruction Era, but set in the future.

2. ORIGINALLY, THE SERENITY CREW INCLUDED JUST FIVE MEMBERS.

When Whedon first developed Firefly, he wanted Serenity to only have five crew members. However, throughout development and casting, Whedon increased the cast from five to nine.

3. REBECCA GAYHEART WAS ORIGINALLY CAST TO PLAY INARA.

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Before Morena Baccarin was cast as Inara Serra, Rebecca Gayheart landed the role—but she was fired after one day of shooting because she lacked chemistry with the rest of the cast. Baccarin was cast two days later and started shooting that day.

4. NEIL PATRICK HARRIS WAS ALMOST DR. SIMON TAM.

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Before it went to Sean Maher, Neil Patrick Harris auditioned for the role of Dr. Simon Tam.

5. JOSS WHEDON WROTE THE THEME SONG.

Whedon wrote the lyrics and music for Firefly’s opening theme song, “The Ballad of Serenity.”

6. STAR WARS SPACECRAFT APPEAR IN FIREFLY.

Star Wars was a big influence on Whedon. Captain Malcolm Reynolds somewhat resembles Han Solo, while Whedon used the Millennium Falcon as inspiration to create Serenity. In fact, you can spot a few spacecraft from George Lucas's magnum opus on the show.

When Inara’s shuttle docks with Serenity in the pilot episode, an Imperial Shuttle can be found flying in the background. In the episode “Shindig,” you can see a Starlight Intruder as the crew lands on the planet Persephone.

7. HAN SOLO FROZEN IN CARBONITE POPS UP THROUGHOUT FIREFLY.

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Nathan Fillion is a big Han Solo fan, so the Firefly prop department made a 12-inch replica of Han Solo encased in Carbonite for the Canadian-born actor. You can see the prop in the background in a number of scenes.

8. ALIEN'S WEYLAND-YUTANI CORPORATION MADE AN APPEARANCE.

In Firefly’s pilot episode, the opening scene features the legendary Battle of Serenity Valley between the Browncoats and The Union of Allied Planets. Captain Malcolm Reynolds takes control of a cannon with a Weyland-Yutani logo inside of its display. Weyland-Yutani is the large conglomerate corporation in the Alien film franchise. (Whedon wrote Alien: Resurrection in 1997.)

9. ZAC EFRON'S ACTING DEBUT WAS ON FIREFLY.

A 13-year-old Zac Efron made his acting debut in the episode “Safe” in 2002. He played Young Simon in a flashback.

10. CAPTAIN MALCOLM REYNOLDS'S HORSE IS A WESTERN TROPE.

At its core, Firefly is a sci-fi western—and Malcolm Reynolds rides the same horse on every planet (it's named Fred).

11. FOX AIRED FIREFLY'S EPISODES OUT OF ORDER.

Fox didn’t feel Firefly’s two-hour pilot episode was strong enough to air as its first episode. Instead, “The Train Job” was broadcast first because it featured more action and excitement. The network continued to cherry-pick episodes based on broad appeal rather than story consistency, and eventually aired the pilot as the show’s final episode.

12. THE ALLIANCE'S ORIGINS ARE AMERICAN AND CHINESE.

The full name of The Alliance is The Anglo-Sino Alliance. Whedon envisioned The Alliance as a merger of American and Chinese government and corporate superpowers. The Union of Allied Planets’ flag is a blending of the American and Chinese national flags.

13. THE SERENITY LOUNGE SERVED AS AN ACTUAL LOUNGE.

Between set-ups and shots, the cast would hang out in the lounge on the Serenity set rather than trailers or green rooms.

14. INARA SERRA'S NAME IS MESOPOTAMIAN.

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Inara Serra is named after the Mesopotamian Hittite goddess, the protector of all wild animals.

15. THE CHARACTERS SWORE (JUST NOT IN ENGLISH).

The Firefly universe is a mixture of American and Chinese culture, which made it easy for writers to get around censors by having characters swear in Chinese.

16. THE UNIFORMS ARE RECYCLED FROM STARSHIP TROOPERS.

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The uniforms for Alliance officers and soldiers were the costumes from the 1997 science fiction film Starship Troopers. The same costumes were repurposed again for the Starship Troopers sequel.

17. "SUMMER!" MEANS SOMEONE MESSED UP.

Every time a cast member flubbed one of his or her lines, they would yell Summer Glau’s name. This was a running gag among the cast after Glau forgot her lines in the episode “Objects In Space.”

18. THE SERENITY SPACESHIP WAS BUILT TO SCALE.

The interior of Serenity was built entirely to scale; rooms and sections were completely contiguous. The ship’s interior was split into two stages, one for the upper deck and one for the lower. Whedon showed off the Firefly set in one long take to open the Serenity movie.

19. "THE MESSAGE" SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE SHOW'S FAREWELL.

Although “The Message” was the twelfth episode, it was the last episode filmed during Firefly’s short run. Composer Greg Edmonson wrote a piece of music for a funeral scene in the episode, which served as a final farewell to the show. Sadly, it was one of three episodes (the other two were “Trash” and “Heart of Gold”) that didn’t air during Firefly’s original broadcast run on Fox.

20. FIREFLY AND SERENITY WERE SENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION.

American Astronaut Steven Ray Swanson is a big fan of Firefly, so when he was sent to the International Space Station for his first mission (STS-117) in 2007, he brought DVD copies of Firefly and its feature film Serenity aboard with him. The DVDs are now a permanent part of the space station’s library.

This post originally appeared in 2014.

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