Follow TV Tropes


Gargle Blaster

Go To
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) 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; 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 Order.

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), and A Tankard of Moose Urine, when beer is just bad without excessive (or necessarily any) alcohol content.


Example subpages

    open/close all folders 

  • 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."
  • Jay Mohr talks about the "gret" 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."
  • 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.
  • Billy Connolly claims to have encountered a cocktail in America called the Zombie. Its effects...well, best to let him tell the story.

    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 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 Tontonsflingueurs (see films) Shout-Out: "Cha, ch'est une boichon d'homme, cha!" ("Now, jhat'sh a men'sh drink, jhat!").
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • One comedic issue of Thor 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).
  • Downplayed when Lucky Luke drinks a Tequila. The only effect is some firespitting.
    Mexican: Refreshing, isn't it?

    Comic Strips 
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • The Kickapoo Joy Juice from Li'l Abner, having been described as "more inflammable than jet fuel".

    Fan Works 
  • Bait and Switch 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.
  • The Shadowchasers Series series has some potent potables that are not meant to be drunk by humans.
    • The original fic introduced 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 introduced 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.
  • In Lily's Next Great Adventure Harry's account manager comments that "only the most insane human" would be able to handle drinking goblin grog.
  • In 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.
  • In the Girl Genius/My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossover 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.
  • In the Mass Effect/Neon Genesis Evangelion crossover 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.
  • 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.
  • Parodied in The Sweetie Chronicles: Fragments. 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?"
  • In 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 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".
  • 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.
  • In 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.

  • 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.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • 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.