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Gargle Blaster

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You just need to get used to it!

"Never drink any drink with a paper umbrella in it, never drink any drink with a humorous name, and never drink any drink that changes colour when the last ingredient goes in."
Mustrum Ridcully, Hogfather

A drink so potent the whole room hushes when someone orders it. The bartender pales and asks, "Are you sure?" and then, after putting on a welding mask and asbestos gloves, takes the bottle out of a locked safe and pours it with tongs. When the stirring spoon is removed, it's been melted away, and the ice cubes jump out with a yelp when dropped into it. And that's just the beginning of the fun.

Consumption often results in a Fire-Breathing Diner, Intoxication Ensues, the Mushroom Samba, or if you're lucky, quick, merciful unconsciousness. If you're unlucky, all of the above. Except unconsciousness, at least until the least opportune moment.

A common scene involves a character (often a Cloudcuckoolander or someone who Never Gets Drunk) downing an entire Gargle Blaster and suffering no ill effects, either just shrugging it off as "nothing really special" or maybe claiming that experience was "quite pleasant", causing everyone else in the room to be thoroughly confused. Someone else tries it, because obviously it must be weaker than it's supposed to be, and ends up with the usual effects.

Named after the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy; drinking one has been compared to "having your brains smashed out with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick." You may need a Hideous Hangover Cure to recover from it. Screwball Serum is an explicitly non-alcoholic variant, whose end results may be equally disturbing. Another variant is Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce, which is served as a condiment, not as a drink. For the opposite, see Klatchian Coffee. May be served with a Masochist's Meal.

Count on the Military Moonshiner dishing up this.

Beware of anyone who has this as their Drink-Based Characterization.

Contrast with I Drank WHAT?!, when someone drinks something that's not supposed to be drunk at all. Compare/Contrast with Unsuspectingly Soused, when someone drinks a Gargle Blaster without realizing it's alcoholic (or knows that it is but has no idea how potent it is), Can't Hold His Liquor, when someone shows how much of a lightweight they are by promptly becoming drunk from just the slightest amount of alcohol, Nutritional Nightmare (for exceedingly unhealthy food), and A Tankard of Moose Urine, when beer is just bad without excessive (or necessarily any) alcohol content. Can sometimes be used as a weapon, in a case of Bizarre Beverage Use.

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  • Billy Connolly claims to have encountered a cocktail in America called the Zombie. Its effects...well, best to let him tell the story.
    • The Zombie really does exist. It is a classic American drink, notorious for its expert camouflage of a VERY large amount of rum.
  • Bill Cosby's "Fernet Branca" routine centers around his use of this drink (a liqueur with an intense bitter taste) to relieve indigestion caused by eating barbecued sparrow. It sends him running for the bathroom.
  • Jay Mohr talks about the "gret" house beer he had at a pub in Scotland, which he describes as "black, with leaves in it, and piping hot. I took one sip, and instantly shit my pants."
  • Monty Python
    • Their comedy album sketch "Australian Table Wines" lampoons the perceived boorishness of Australia by having a sophisticated sommelier review various local Australian wines. In spite of his enthusiastic recommendations, his descriptions reveal that all the wines are foul concoctions not fit for human consumption. One is described as "really opening up the sluices at both ends," while another is "specially grown for those keen on regurgitation." One "fighting wine" is said to be "particularly heavy, and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat."
    • In Monty Python's Flying Circus' live Drury Lane album, the cut "Cocktail Bar" has three businessmen entering and ordering drinks of dubious potations: a special with a twist of lemming, a mallard fizz, a Harlem stinger and a dog turd and tonic. Needless to say, the gents room loo got quite a workout.
  • In one bit, Patton Oswalt talks about the Guinness in Ireland, which he describes as tasting like a "cupcake and handjob smoothie". He goes on to say, "You don't even realize you're getting drunk, until two hours later, when you're punching a fire hydrant."

    Comic Books 
  • In the Achille Talon album Viva Papa!, the only product of the Banana Republic of Tapasambal is an alcohol made from cactus juice. The locals seem able to drink it without much trouble, but when the hero and his sidekick Lefuneste sip a little, they instantly turn red and produce cartoonish jets of steam. Along with the obligatory Les Tontons flingueurs (see films) Shout-Out: "Cha, ch'est une boichon d'homme, cha!" ("Now, jhat'sh a men'sh drink, jhat!").
  • In Alan Ford, popular villain Superciuk got his powers after being washed away by a tsunami of incredibly cheap red wine made from grapes, cabbages, trash and industrial waste. He similarly requires bad wine to fuel his alcoholic breath. Later on in the series (and in the animated cartoon) he relies on a concoction of garlic-tomato juice.
  • After Barney Jordan from Bernard Prince had won a pulque drinking contest against a very big and scary Mexican rebel leader, he told Bernard that he had been through worse once:
    Barney: There was this poppy schnapps that I ran into in Shanghai under similar circumstances. You either died or went stark raving mad...I survived...
  • Vas in The Boys has a homebrew drink, made in part with brake fluid and generally seen as this. The other members of the crew are shown immediately tossing it out, unbeknownst to new guy Hughie (who reacts to the drink like he's been kicked by a mule despite his superpowers). It's so vile that it actually immunizes him against a poison meant for knocking out superhumans; Vas remarks "this shit would probably kill AIDS virus."
  • In Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, nigh everything served at Al's bar is one of these. This is a plot point when one of the PSmith collective decides to sample a little of everything, expecting to be drunk at worst, and instead gets floored so fast and so hard that the rest of the collective think he's been murdered.
    Buck: Al, anything you serve can be considered "alcohol" in the same sense that a fractal bomb can be considered an "explosive"...
  • In the Johan and Peewit adventure "The Vikings' Pledge", Peewit falls into cold water and is offered a "drop" as a pick-me-up. True to the name, there's a single drop of liquid in the glass, but that's enough to make him breathe fire when he downs it.
  • Downplayed when Lucky Luke drinks a Tequila. The only effect is some firespitting and a mild case of smoke out of the ears.
    Mexican: Refreshing, isn't it?
  • The Mighty Thor: One comedic issue featured Thor having an epic drinking contest prior to becoming the wielder of Mjölnir, which culminated in being challenged by Mephisto. Drinks included the Gamma Slamma, the Cosmic Ray, the Ultimate Drunkifier, and Odin's Beard (literally Odin's beard that had been soaked in ale). It ended with a nameless concoction that Loki cursed, which caused Mephisto to explode (Thor didn't actually drink it, he just swished it around his mouth and spat it back out).
  • In IDW's line of The Transformers:
    • There's Nightmare Fuel. It's described as being able to push a warworld into hyperspace, and it requires protective equipment just to handle the bottle. For Cybertronians.
    • There's also the time Whirl slipped Ultra Magnus some Weapons Grade Nucleon. Not only was Magnus instantly knocked out, he had to have his fuel tanks rebuilt. Doubles as both a Continuity Nod (Nucleon is a substance that in some continuities causes increased physical power at the cost of unpredictable side effects, such as total loss of transformation) and Foreshadowing (the idea that Magnus Can't Hold His Liquor despite being one of the largest people on board makes more sense when you realize he's essentially the Transformer equivalent of a Mobile-Suit Human).
    • And there's Berserk Buttons, which Whirl once did too many of and trashed Swerve's Bar when someone asked him what time it was.
  • Starstruck has the Double Death Commando, which is prepared in an elaborate sequence including the barkeeper (wearing protective gear) infusing the mixture with a positron beam and served in a heavy-duty double-handled mug with a warning to drink it quickly before it explodes. It's actually a slight subversion, as the drink is basically a rather pleasant and only moderately boozy vanilla-mint milkshake...which serves to cover up the massive dose of illicit stimulants it comes with.

    Comic Strips 
  • Subverted in one old Hägar the Horrible strip: told that "You gotta be tough to drink in this place" at the bar he's frequenting, Hägar downs something that creates the typical effects... but when he asks for a glass of water afterward, the bartender tells him, "That was a glass of our water!"
  • Knights of the Dinner Table:
    • During a Hackmaster campaign, a particular bar requires first-time patrons to order Gut Busters. They use it to weed out low-level characters; drinking a drink of it does 1d10 damage, which is more than most first-level characters have. Bob's character, after being assaulted by certain patrons, gets a double, forgetting both that he's been injured and that each shot does 1d10 damage. He dies from the drink, to the shame of his party members.
    • Mojo Dave's "mojo juice" apparently has this effect in the real world. Sipping it causes "Hawg" Waller to pass out.
  • The Kickapoo Joy Juice from Li'l Abner, having been described as "more inflammable than jet fuel". If it "needs more body", they just chuck another body in, as it's brewed from fermented skunk spray (affectionately called "skonk oil").

    Fan Works 
  • Alpha and Omega: Aria T'loak gets Shinji to drink Noverian rum which is completely non-alcoholic until it comes into contact with saliva. Shinji coughs and insists it's some form of chemical weapon, before asking for another.
  • At the Edge of Lasg'len: Elven wine is explicitly called this by two human characters, since even a few drops are enough to get a human utterly wasted.
  • Bait and Switch (STO) has the "Hathon hammer", a cocktail made from bloodwine (a Klingon liquor twice as potent as whiskey), kava juice, and kanar (a Cardassian liquor). It's described as being tasty, but like its name says it hits you like a hammer. Eleya also calls the bartender who invented it insane.
  • Contraptionology!: Applejack's mad science project is a batch of "large hadron cider" made in a still reworked to function as, essentially, a particle accelerator. What comes out the other end needs to be stored in a tankard made out of shaped magnetic fields, comes with a thick head of "quantum foam", and, when drunk, slices through Applejack's years of habituation like butter and gives her the ability to see magic while blitzing her out of her mind.
  • The Difference One Man Can Make: Played with when Harry introduces vodka to the world. Tyrion, who is known for his ability to hold his drink, can't handle his first mouthful of the stuff.
  • Forget Disney: Harry Potter learns not to drink anything made by Princess Tigerlily or drunk by Tinkerbell unless it's first tested on pirates. Both Tigerlily and Tinkerbell think Everclear is for wusses.
  • A Good Compromise: It turns out that despite being resistant to most poisons, even Vorta have trouble drinking Romulan ale. Tyria Sark is rather amused to see Kilana sent into a coughing fit after draining her glass instead of sipping it.
  • In Harry Listens goblin grog is apparently so potent that even goblins have trouble drinking it when it's served hot.
  • If They Haven't Learned Your Name: Steve Rogers asks for a full bottle of "their strongest stuff" at a Croatian bar and receives a cobalt-blue bottle that has something swimming in it, and whose smell Sam likens to paint thinner. Even still, it takes four or five shots of the mystery liquor for Steve to get drunk off of it, and in order to stay drunk, he has to keep taking a sip every minute or so, and a full shot every twenty. The bartender looks at Steve worriedly every so often because he's still lucid and upright and not blacked out on the floor.
  • The Infinite Loops: Several of the "looper bars" have at least one of these. If someone orders it, chances are they just came out of a very rough loop.
  • In Inheritance (Worm), Talisker Super Reserve is a glowing Tinkertech whiskey brewed in Scotland, where it's only barely legal and exports face steep penalties. The alcohol content is so high that it would work better as a posion if not for the Tinker's ability preventing alcohol poisoning. The Butchers can drink most booze while getting only mildly tipsy; Talisker can get them wasted.
  • I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For: Harry Potter once mixed firewhiskey, sake, vodka, and wine (and possibly turpentine and antifreeze, as well) together and drank it. After one drink, he woke up the next day in police custody and even years later insists "the statue had it coming".
  • Lily's Next Great Adventure: Harry's account manager comments that "only the most insane human" would be able to handle drinking goblin grog.
  • Limpet AU: Due to supply shortages during their twenty-five-year pilgrimage through the Unknown Regions, the crew of the Executor took to making a concoction they call "starshine" by distilling engine coolant. When Piett mentions this to Luke in "Meet the Skywalkers", the latter comments that he's used to the Rebellion's own dodgy alcohol, although he doesn't specify exactly how they made it outside of saying that "it's amazing how many things you can do with a tauntaun".
  • Mare Genius: "Zap Apple Horse Liniment" is fermented Zap Apple Jam that's run through a pot still that the Apple Family keeps in a hollow on the edge of their property. Said still is only lit up when the wind is blowing away from the farmstead and any pony habitation. It is usually used to rub down Granny Smith's arthritic joints. It is also a dandy engine degreaser, fire accelerant, and sterilization agent during field surgery. Drinking the stuff usually results in a "not guilty by reason of insanity" plea in Equestrian court, because you would have to be out of your mind to consume it in the first place. Fluttershy gets completely hammered and ends up singing The Hedgehog Song merely by taking one sniff from an open jug.
  • Mauling Snarks: The Palanquin serves Parahuman Gargle Blaster made with powerful tinker-produced alcohol and distilled essence of Newter, a single drop of which is enough to send someone on a hallucinogenic drug trip. Olives are optional because they dissolve in the drink. Of course, Amy and Taylor are immune to poisons, so it doesn't affect them in the slightest.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The Norscans have a ceremony called Doomdrinking where various alcohols are mixed and a drop of something is added that causes the bowl to dissolve, a drop of the mixture is put into another bowl of water that also starts reacting, and diluted again to a lesser reaction. The resulting monstrosity causes men to pass out instantly and in once case melts his jaw, which makes sense when the Wolf reveals the secret ingredient is troll bile, which can dissolve stone. The whole thing is supposedly based on apples (well, mainly apples), but he mentions other tribes having their own recipes involving dead sheep, beastman blood or horse jizz.
  • A Peaceful Afterlife: Angel Dust's 'wine'. Is actually grape juice and rubbing alcohol, but demon physiology allows drinkers to withstand the poisonous elements and merely become profoundly drunk.
  • Shadowchasers Series has some potent potables that are not meant to be drunk by humans.
    • Shadowchasers (Cyber Commander) introduces viperwine, a type of whiskey made from Indian pit viper venom, which is lethal to anyone except reptilian Shadowkind. You need a special permit to sell it legally.
    • Shadowchasers: Ascension introduces some drinks that consumed by devils (who cannot get drunk from alcohol, due to their supernatural anatomy, and need to consume magical substances to experience intoxication). Rank and file devils drink gughalaki, which is compared to very strong rum, and delivers "a powerful, nearly hallucinogenic punch". Upper class devils, including the Big Bad Jalie Squarefoot, drink Demon's Blood from wine glasses, the equivalent of fine wine to the aristocracy of Hell.
  • The Sweetie Chronicles: Fragments: Parodied. Sweetie orders "the Works" from Sugarcube Corner, which is a sundae loaded with so much sugar it induces a Mushroom Samba. Cue total silence and Mrs. Cake asking the obligatory "Are you sure?"
  • Tending to the Soul: Jaune has created a special kind of alcohol for Huntsmen that tricks their Aura into thinking it's beneficial, which means the already extremely strong liquor is spread through their system far faster due to their Aura helping it along. While mere potent alcohol to normal people, a Huntsman will get completely hammered after a shot or two in mere seconds.
  • Xander's bar "Nights" has several varieties in Tales from the Barman due to several gods and similar drinking there. When the Juggernaut demands a bottle of the strongest stuff Xander's got, Xander pulls out a bottle of alcohol and gives him a thimble-sized glass of it, telling him that if he can handle that then Xander will give him something stronger. Whatever it is knocks Juggernaut flat on his ass immediately.
  • In the 6th installment of Tales of the Undiscovered Swords, during the preparation for the Halloween party, a group of swords concoct such a drink given a very Punny Name Ichigo Hitokuchi (roughly "one life, one sip"note ). The concoction is said to be so strong even notorious heavy drinker Nihongō passes out from it.
  • In Thieves Can Be Heroes!, Izuku has to drink a strange solution of unknown chemicals in order to get a job as a test subject at a local clinic so that the Phantom Thieves can get the medicine they need to stay healthy on future heists. Its flavor is described as an eye-opening mix of sour and bitter that's nearly impossible to get down. But the real kicker is that after it reaches the stomach, it reacts with gastric acid to produce an unspeakably foul stench compared to Surströmming, the world's worst smelling food, overwhelming his senses and putting him in a several-hour-long coma.

  • Bor-brew ale from the Lone Wolf series doesn't look that threatening and even has a pleasant taste ("malted apples"). It has a fearsome reputation because it's the favored beer of dwarves. The first time Lone Wolf can drink it, he runs the risk of falling unconscious and waking up with a hangover that robs him of Endurance. Later it seems the brew became even more potent; the second time he can drink it, he runs the risk of suffering horrifying hallucinations, falling unconscious, and waking up with a hangover that again robs him of Hit Points. Yes, even the beer is trying to kill Lone Wolf. In either case, actually consuming the stuff without side effects earns impressed looks from witnesses.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978):
    • The aforementioned "Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster" from is described as the best drink in existence. It also says that the effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick, and it sums the entire drink up as the alcoholic equivalent of a mugging. That is to say, expensive and bad for the head. It was invented by Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox who, naturally, has had a few. The book noted that there exist a number of twelve step programs on numerous worlds that can help a person begin recovering from the drink. Not recovering from a drinking habit, mind you, just from one drink. In the TV series a drinker collapsed after one sip, spilling the remainder on a table which instantly started to corrode. Whether the person was unconscious or dead is entirely unclear.
    • Hitchhiker's Guide also features Old Janx Spirit, which in addition to getting people drunk also suppresses their telepsychic powers. (This property is exploited in an amusing Drinking Game, which Ford plays to lose.) An old Orion mining song describes its side effects as: "my head will fly, my tongue will lie, my eyes will fry and I may die". Naturally, it's an ingredient in the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

  • Celestial Refresh features Infected Mage. It was created by infamous (both in roleplay and his own universe) Deadpool and some other guys. Key note that it's FATAL to most of the humans. This includes human-equal race representatives. For record, Deadpool hardly manages to down five of them. That's considering that he came through the Multiversal Drain, but he got better (and even stronger, supposedly).
  • One sidestory in Embers in the Dusk describes the various types of Avernus-made booze. It includes a wine which, under certain conditions, make one's arms melt off. Some people do it deliberately, because the resulting liquid can be processed into an even better wine, a black market good fetching more that enough to buy replacement limbs.
  • Bob, of Things Bob Is Not Allowed to Do on TV Tropes fame, got himself banned from homebrewing after making a batch of 150-proof (that's 75% alcohol) kombucha (which isn't supposed to have any alcohol).

    Web Animation 
  • Sassy from The Big Lez Show has several ridiculous and incredibly powerful drug concoctions, namely the Trippa Snippanote , which causes a terrifying hallucinogenic trip that knocks Lez out for almost two weeks ("Nah, you were out for eleven days, you fukken druggo"). He later goes on to sell a cocktail while bartending that is another delivery device for enormous quantities of drugs that is outright stated to be lethal to most humans and makes Lez severely ill before making him have a terrifying trip, and gets him called out by Lez for his cavalier attitude towards getting him and other people to ingest his incredibly dangerous concoctions.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, Leman Russ attempted to recreate Fenrisian Ale while trapped in the Warp by mixing Bylestimnote  and the distilled liver-juices of a Bloodthirster. Resulting in a drink so potent it generates an aura of menace, and gets the Inquisition to lighten up a bit. Karamazov's not too far off when he calls it literally "liquid Chaos". Apparently, it gets everyone so insanely drunk they start pranking powerful daemons and succeed. It also kills Dominique, though he finds it was worth the trip and admits he would've died a long time ago if he knew this stuff would get him so smashed.

    Web Original 
  • Virtual pet site Neopets plays this one as a direct homage with their Pan Galactic Gargle Slushie item — the description even reads "The wisest saying in the galaxy is apparently, 'Never drink more than two Pan Galactic Gargle Slushies unless you are a twenty ton mega-elephant with pneumonial bronchitis.'" While the site is kid-friendly and thus does not actually let pets get drunk, it's one of the rarest and most expensive slushies in the game, which likely says a lot about the staff.
  • In The Salvation War, Satan wrings out an orc into a cup of his wine. The entrails dissolve.
  • SCP Foundation has SCP-294, an "universal beverage dispensing machine" that was once used to deliver a cup of "the perfect drink", which caused the one who drank it to commit suicide because it was so mind-blowingly awesome, nothing else in life could even hope to compare afterwards. Someone else asked it for the trope namer, with predictably spectacular results.
  • In Through the Motions, Lydia is a bartender who makes magic potions on the side. Using her knowledge of both, she serves Deanna and her family an alcoholic drink called a "wyvern". The drink is so potent and spicy that it causes the drinker to expel smoke from their mouth and nostrils like a dragon. Deanna, a less experienced drinker than her parents, takes a couple of sips and has to rush to her friend Marisol's bathroom to stop herself from vomiting smoke everywhere.

    Web Videos 
  • BuzzFeed has an entire playlist on their YouTube channel of their staff trying various strange drinks. They've sampled chili vodka, along side vodkas flavored with yogurt and bacon. The poor saps at their Australian office also sampled the chili pepper vodka with predictable results and American shot drinks.
  • The Cartoon Physicist had one of these during her review of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005). Due to her dislike for the movie, she definitely needed it.
  • The Christmas Story 2 episode of The Nostalgia Critic starts with the Critic and Jeremy Scott making "Christmas Story 2 Eggnog". It involves a single drop of actual eggnog, a package of vegetarian hot dogs, a drumstick, a star fruit and filling most of it with water, blend it, garnish with a lit cigarette. They proceed to actually taste it and they immediately run to the sink to spit it.
  • Many cocktails made by Tipsy Bartender features multiple bottles of liquors mixed together. Of note are the cocktails that use an entire bottle of Everclear (which is 95% ABV) as a base.
  • An episode of Z! True Long Island Story had Zack Ryder revealing what an actual Long Island Iced Z is: A mixture of vodka, rum, tequila, diet soda, and protein. His attempt at drinking the concoction ended with him immediately vomiting it into the nearby sink, complete with "He's gonna puke!" sound byte from Beyond the Mat.
  • Oxventure: Edward's signature drink is a Snakebite and Black with an Aftershock depth charge. For those not in the know, that's a 50/50 mix of lager and cider with a splash of blackcurrant cordial and a shot of 40% abv cinnamon schnapps. The alcohol content is way higher than than anything that should be drunk by the pint, and the intense flavors and sheer amount of sugar mask the alcohol content so well you may not realize how drunk you are until you're hugging the toilet.


Video Example(s):


Nasty Canasta's Usual

When Daffy meets Nasty Canasta, the outlaw 'convinces' him to have a drink, which consists of cobra fang juice, old panther whiskey, and hydrogen bitters.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (20 votes)

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