Curiosity Cocktails from Mars Science Laboratory Engineers

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!

Aaron Yazzie's brilliant MSL garnish.

Aaron Yazzie’s brilliant MSL garnish.


About morganhendry

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 landed something on Mars ( More info can be found at my website ( Sign up here for updates on my many projects:
This entry was posted in Mixed Drinks, Space, Tiki and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Curiosity Cocktails from Mars Science Laboratory Engineers

  1. Pingback: Landing Day: How to Watch, What I Worked on, and Thoughts on the Landing | morganhendry

  2. We stayed up late to watch the live stream. If only we’d known about the Seven Minutes of Terror cocktail ahead of time. Congrats on the landing and being fresh pressed!

  3. haileyjw says:

    Congrats on success! And I’m not just talking about the drinks! 😉 Can’t wait to try a little green man….hmmm….I never thought I’d ever have to say that…

  4. Hysterical! Now checking the liquor cabinet for signs of Little Green Men…


  5. The little green men has my name all over it! I used to make something similar in another lifetime (that being the one where I was a bartender). I called it pond scum and sold it as a shot for $1 each at happy hour. A long, long time ago… I can still remember…how that music used to make me smile…:-)

  6. f-stop mama says:

    Congrats on the landing! We cheered with all of you from our living room last night, We live in Indiana so the late hour made me a bit sleepy at work today but it was worth it. What exciting times! I will have to try out some of the above cocktails, they sound delicious 🙂

  7. pattyabr says:

    Happy Mars Landing and hilarious cocktails. Good use of your leisure time away from work.

  8. thefolia says:

    Apparently everyone (legal drinking age of course) can use a little happy juice. MSL Flaming Aeroshell sounds amazing–can’t wait to try!

  9. ronyshapira says:

    great post, can’t wait to try these 🙂

  10. Isn’t science a wonderful thing, threaded all through our lives – sometimes in such fun way!

  11. beyondanomie says:

    I’m not entirely convinced by some of these cocktails (though the Here’s Hoping sounds like a nice combination), but my heartfelt congratulations on the successful landing! I’m sure a few drinks were had to celebrate. 🙂

  12. dude, you are outa your freakin mind with these concoctions – and I absolutely love it 😀 i think the fumes from those jet engines are maybe getting to your head a bit lol the thing i love most about these cocktails (other than the cute names :D) is how light on mixer/fruit juice they are. they are proper party cocktails, heavy on the booze and madness inspires additions, light on the holiday-on-the-beach, reminiscent of sun mixing fruit 😀

  13. Looks more fun that it is taste 😛

  14. Little Green Man vs. Little Green Men. Love it!

    • morganhendry says:

      Yeah, it was pretty funny when Ethan showed up and was all excited that he invented “Little Green Men” about four hours after we all had tried the “Little Green Man”.

  15. Pingback: Rocket Cocktails from a Mars Science Laboratory Engineer, Morgan Hendry | Field(e)notes

  16. Grumpa Joe says:

    What an amazing array of spacey drinks, no doubt any of which will send you into the ether world.

  17. pop rock rims!!! amazing!!

  18. fireandair says:

    Congratulations! Everything has gone so perfectly that it’s almost spooky. The cocktails reminded me of one that a friend of mine came up with in grad school (another physicist). Something about a fuzzy navel only it had a frozen berg of blue curacao floating in it that she’d created by pouring the curacao into a ziploc bag and dipping it corner-first into a dewar of liquid nitrogen. She called it “Guinan’s Special Pick-Me-Up.”

  19. iRucci74 says:


  20. piacarti says:

    congrats on the landing! excited for the new pictures! any mars bar for me? 😀

  21. cathynd95 says:

    Reblogged this on What's For Dinner? and commented:
    In honor of curiosity landing on Mars

  22. kollshi17 says:

    thank you

  23. This is so creative, !! 🙂

    Do you mind checking out my site, its new and your feedback would mean the world to me!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s