NASA Inspired Cocktails From A Real Rocket Scientist

photo by Morgan Hendry

With Morgan Hendry ‘s permission I am sharing the post he wrote last week as he and his colleagues waited to hear if the landing of the robot Curiosity survived to fulfill her mission. Hendry works for NASA and is also a musician in LA. (see his bio below). He (seems like with help from colleagues) created the official Mars Science Landing Cocktails, which can also be enjoyed as a celebration for the success of the event. Also, for those who want to follow the mission tweet-by-tweet follow the robot named Curiosity as ‘she’ roves the red planet. 

Onto Hendry’s blog…

Highbrow musical compositions aside, when the rubber hits the road, I’m a man who enjoys his drink.  My love of Tiki concoctions sometimes walks that thin cliff’s edge between a light hangover and insanity.  Then there is, of course, The Head (which is still lurking in my garage).

It’s probably no secret that my day job is at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  If it was, well, these were the clues…  With a week to go until the MSL landing and in the spirit of merging art and science, I wanted to share a little project that my friends and I undertook.

I now present to you the official unofficial Mars Science Laboratory cocktails!

Here’s Hoping (that we actually land…)

  • 1 lime
  • 1 3/4 ounce New Make Rye
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 Luxardo maraschino cherry with small scoup of liquid

A little aperitif created by Kerri Anderson (honorary JPL engineer).  Shake over ice. Add cherry and liquid to martini glass before pouring in cocktail.

Little Green Man

  • 0.5 oz Pernod
  • 0.5 oz light rum
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 sugar cube (with a drop of green food coloring if desired)

This is something that I put together.  If you’re a fan of black licorice or absinth, you should enjoy this one.  Pour Pernod over ice to cloud before combining with rum. Pour in shot glass over sugar cube.

MSL Flaming Aeroshell

  • 2 parts Silver Tequila
  • 1 part Cherry Heering Liquor
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Squeeze of blood orange juice
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Ice

Scott Nowak created this fantastic Tiki inspired punch.  Pour ingredients into a punch bowl filled with ice.  Cut lime in half and clean out pulp after it has been squeezed. Fill with 151 rum. Float lime shell on cocktail. Light 151 on fire for flaming aeroshell effect.

Massive Angle of Attack

  • 4 parts spiced cranberry cider
  • 3 parts rum
  • 2 parts amaretto
  • 1 sugar cube soaked in high proof rum on a spoon per drink/glass

What can we say, we were all pyromaniacs growing up…  Mike Burger and Maggie Scholtz created this one.  Basically you have to get the burning sugar cube into the glass without lighting the top of the drink on fire (or else you “burn up”).

Little Green Men

  • 6 parts vodka
  • 4 parts Midori melon liqueur
  • 2 parts triple sec
  • 1 part lime juice
  • Pop Rocks

Ethan Post created this shot totally independent of mine.  Shake ingredients together and serve in shot glasses rimmed with pop rocks.

I’ve got to say, I was totally blown away by both how original and tasty these all were.  Granted, like any project, we had a few misfires…

Seven Minutes of Terror

  • 1 handle of Jack Daniels
  • 1 tube
  • 1 funnel
  • 2 friends

Calculate tube size required to allow 1 handle of jack to flow through
it in 7 minutes.  Attach appropriate tube to funnel.  Lay down on ground.  Have friend stand over you with funnel, tube, and jack.  Have second friend hold your mouth open.  Insert tube in mouth.  Have friend pour jack in funnel, maintaining appropriate head pressure for duration of 7 minutes.  Scream if desired.

Be sure to tune into NASA TV next Sunday around 10 pm Pacific.  Regardless of what happens, we’ll all likely have a few of the above in our system.  Happy landings!

Who is Morgan? Here is what he says….

“I have been a musician and rocket scientist since 4th grade.  I play drums/keyboards for the LA based instrumental rock band Beware of Safety, write electronic music as The Laterite Road, and just landedsomething on Mars.  More info can be found at my website.”





  1. MMMM! Mission Accomplished!

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