St John Karp

Ramblings of an Ornamental Hermit

A Classy Sparkledrank

A cocktail glass of sparkledrank surrounded by its ingredient bottles.

It is a sad truth that I will never have children, but does that mean the fruit of my progeny should lie rotting on the branch? No, I say! The product of my fertile loins should spring free in other forms, numerous and diverse, so you the grateful and benighted public should have the opportunity to bask in the terror and joy of my creation. I have done what I have always threatened to do. I have unleashed a bastard chimera upon the world. Bow down before its shrieks and otherworldly howls, and shiver in awe of its terrible beauty. I have invented a cocktail.

My novel Quake City gets a lot of mileage out of a fictional drink called “sparkledrank.” As far as I’m aware it has never existed, but I’ve always meant to try and make one. From what we know in the book it’s sweet, intensely alcoholic, and when you stir it you can watch purple clouds swirl as the ingredients mix. It’s trashy, something a dive bar could knock together out of whatever cough syrup and expired liquor they have at the back of the shelf, and simultaneously impossible, something that can’t exist except in a fictional boozy night out. That poses quite a challenge, but I’m no shirker. Hold my beer.

I did a first attempt at a sparkledrank using Chambord for its color and sweetness and Goldschläger for its swirling flakes of gold. It was vile. Not only is Chambord diabetes in a bottle, but Goldschläger doesn’t have nearly enough gold in it to justify calling the result a sparkledrank.

For my second attempt I decided to go less trashy. Maybe a slightly more traditional, understated cocktail was the way to go, but it definitely needs some unique kick to make it unlike anything else. The key ingredient of my sparkledrank is gin infused with butterfly pea flowers. Butterfly pea flowers come from South-East Asia where they are used to make a vivid blue tea. When you add lemon juice to it, the tea turns purple. The scientific name for the plant is Clitoria ternatea, “clitoria” apparently after the flower’s resemblance to the female tuppence. Now that is a promising start.

I bought an infuser, filled it with butterfly pea flowers and Bombay Sapphire, and let it infuse for about a day. I was expecting it to come out blue and to require some lemon juice in the final mix, but the gin must have affected the acidity of the infusion because when I poured it was already a beautiful purple. I decided to pair this with sweet vermouth for flavor and Rose’s lime juice for sweetness and acidity. The primary ingredients of gin and sweet vermouth make this a variation on the classic Gin and It.

“But what about the sparkle?” I hear you cry, tearing at your cheap extensions in confusion. “You can’t have sparkledrank without the sparkle!” And right you are, in your own quaint, parochial way. While I could never be bothered with layering the drink and engineering clouds, sparkledrank would be nothing without the sparkle. Fortunately Signature Drink Lab makes Shimmer Glitter™ Dust, a few shakes of which can make any drink look like it belongs in the sweaty, fake-tanned hand of a drunk white woman on a hen night.



A close-up of the sparkledrank demonstrating its glitter.

Combine three parts gin and one part sweet vermouth in a cocktail shaker and add a splash of Rose’s lime juice. You can afford to be quite conservative with the lime because it’s a concentrated cordial. Try about a quarter of a teaspoon to start with, and vary according to taste. Shake with ice, then pour. Add a few shakes of cocktail glitter, or more depending on how skanky you feel.

Serve in uranium glass and enjoy with a night of broken hearts and body horror.