Whether you want to live forever, chase down your prey, soar through the skies or smash your way through the streets like a monster, Marvel Comics can whip up a drink that will give you exactly what you’re looking for!
In the world of Marvel Comics, superhuman abilities are very easy to come by, which explains why this fictional universe contains literally thousands of super-powered heroes and villains. Genetic experimentation, mutant birth, machine enhancement and freak accidents are among the assortment of methods credited with the acquisition of mind-boggling abilities, but our personal favorite involves mixing together some exotic ingredients and drinking them all down.
In the spirit of sharing some drinks that have made some of our favorite characters all the more exceptional, here is a list of some of the most remarkable drinks to ever grace the pages of a Marvel comic book.
The Heart-shaped Herb – Black Panther
The legendary heart-shaped herb of Wakanda is the plant that grants the Black Panther his legendary strength and overall athleticism, but the method for conveying those powers to their wielders has changed over time. Initially, the herb was physically applied to the body of the recipient during a special ceremony in which the individual granted the powers of the herb would also commune with the Panther God. Apparently, Marvel Comics’ writers decided the herb would make for a far-better plot device if it could be taken orally, which resulted in some unfortunate scenes, like one scene from an issue where Spider Man casually eats a bowl of ceremonial herbs as if it was a salad. In the film version of the Black Panther, the herb is also mixed into a purple potion and consumed orally.
When we think of a magical, purple plant, we immediately think of lavender. If you’ve never had a lavender cocktail, you’re missing out. Vault & Vator, co-founded by Darlene Mann Clarke, serves a Lavender Fields cocktail that would certainly give us the ability to Panther God if we lived in Wakanda.
Cocktail ingredients: honeysuckle vodka, lavender-vanilla liqueur, crème de violette, pineapple, lemon, cardamom syrup, and topped with butterfly pea tea.
The Calypso Serum – Kraven the Hunter
What is the source of Sergei Kravenoff’s incredible strength, speed, agility and durability? If you believe what he says during his first-ever comic book appearance, Kraven gets all of his powers from a secret mixture of African herbs. In fact, he has a steaming cup of this exotic potion in his hand almost every time we see him. Several years later, a Haitian voodoo priestess named Calypso would claim to be the true originator of what would be known from then on as the “Calypso Serum.” Regardless of whether or not the potion’s recipe originates in the deep, dark jungles of Africa or the sunbaked islands of the Caribbean, Spider Man knows better than anyone just how lethal the potion’s ingredients are once Kraven gets it into his system. Frankly, it would make a lot more sense for Kraven to just say he knocked off the Black Panther’s recipe!
Cocktail ingredients: blend of rums, coconut cream, Belle Isle Blood Orange, pineapple, citrus, and tiki spices. We definitely imagine Calypso would mix up a Frozen Painkiller.
The Absorbing Man Potion – Carl “Crusher” Creel
We all know it’s illegal to sneak delicacies to folks in prison, but since when has Loki ever cared about rules? The foremost trickster of Asgard mixed together a potion from his home world and snuck it into the prison drinking water of Carl “Crusher” Creel, possibly the most naturally muscular bad guy from Marvel Comics’ silver age. Whatever was in that Norse-inspired beverage granted Creel the ability to absorb the properties of whatever material he came into physical contact with and made him an ongoing pain in the neck of the mighty Thor for the better part of the last five decades. It also resulted in him being referred to as “The Absorbing Man” for far too long, until comic writers universally agreed that “Crusher” is a far more suitable name for a guy who’s so jacked.
Black Rabbit, located in Nashville, Tennessee, serves a drink that would be Asgard’s potion of choice: Motherland. One sip of the cocktail would definitely give anyone absorbing powers.
Cocktail ingredients: mezcal, chareua, ancho, st germain.
The Nighthawk Serum – Nighthawk
For Marvel Comics fans of the ‘70s, Kyle Richmond was arguably the quintessential member of The Defenders, the group of mostly B-to-C-list heroes who didn’t quite fit in with the cast of The Avengers. Yet, for most fans, he was never quite able to escape the stigma of being labeled as a bootleg Batman clone. In fact, even among Marvel Comics’ most quality Batman replicas, Nighthawk was probably a distant second to Moon Knight, and that isn’t exactly high praise considering how poorly handled Moon Knight has been. In any event, Nighthawk drank a serum which resulted in his strength being doubled during nighttime, which is an oddly specific power. Seriously, if you can make a drinkable serum that doubles your strength at night, wouldn’t it have been far easier to make one that would double your strength ALL the time.
If you’re looking for a cocktail in Charleston, South Carolina that’s worth staying awake for, you’ll find it at the Living Room bar at The Dewberry. The Night Bird cocktail may not make you stronger at night, but it will give you the reason you needed to hang out an hour past your bedtime. To be honest, any cocktail that The Dewberry’s beverage director, Ryan Casey, approves is worth that extra hour.
Cocktail ingredients: Campari, Angostura Amaro, Amaro Montenegro.
The Hyde Formula – Mr. Hyde
Shady biochemist Calvin Zabo was so enamored with the story of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde that he set out to do everything he could to become a miniature Hulk that wore 19th century English attire. Not only did the potion grant Zabo incredible physical strength while in his Hyde form, but it also had the unexplained side effects of fixing his vision and growing out the hair on his head, while simultaneously causing the hair of his beard to disappear. Only the most intricate of formulas could pull off a feat like that! Even in his super-powered state, Hyde was never able to defeat Thor one on one. This ultimately led to the most arbitrary ongoing super-villain partnership in comic book history between Mr. Hyde and the Cobra – a guy who gained his powers after being bitten by a radioactive cobra and then drinking a special antidote. If you’re from Earth, you hate Thor, and you’re a super-powered bad guy, chances are you drank something to get those powers.
Since Calvin Zabo was obsessed with Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, we chose The Double Dealer cocktail for him from the Columbia Room in Washington D.C. We have founder of Salt & Sundry, Amanda McClements, to thank for the recommendation.
Cocktail ingredients: rye, dry vermouth, beet and strawberry oleo, bitter bianco, lemon, and orange bitters.
Super Soldier Serum – Captain America
The formula that started it all – the legendary Super Soldier Serum of Captain America – is a bit tricky to describe because the story behind it has become rather convoluted. There are at least three different versions of how Steve Rogers was transformed into the herculean super soldier known as Captain America. All of them have been formally illustrated and published, but the most iconic version shows the scrawny Rogers drinking a tube full of serum and immediately growing into a perfect male specimen. An added step of having Rogers bombarded with something called “Vita-Rays” was shoehorned into later versions, but the Silver Age story shows no additional measures between Rogers drinking the formula and his instant muscle gain. Unfortunately, a Nazi spy would burst into the room and murder Dr. Erskine, the creator of the formula, thereby guaranteeing the Rogers would become the only one of his kind. Over the years, several characters have been given variations of this serum, or have tried to replicate its success, making it perhaps the most sought-after, power-granting liquid in all of comics.
You may find the Penicillin cocktail on cocktail menus across the U.S, but let us assure you, there is nothing like the original. Bartender and owner of Attaboy in New York City, Sam Ross, created the Penicillin cocktail and started spreading the word of his new drink in 2007 when he was consulting in Los Angeles.
Cocktail ingredients: Islay scotch, ginger, honey, and lemon.
The Lizard Formula – The Lizard
All Curt Connors wanted was to have a second arm again. After engineering a serum from the reptiles in his Florida Everglades lab, Connors gave it to a one-legged rabbit which immediately grew a second leg. Without waiting more than five seconds to see if there were any side effects to taking the serum, the otherwise brilliant scientist quickly downed a test tube full of the green liquid and regrew his original arm. Connors’ celebration was short lived, as his skin rapidly turned green and scaled over, and then he grew a tail, claws and large teeth. Now obsessed with reptilian supremacy, the Lizard cooked up a scheme to provide his chemical solutions to alligators in order to create a new race of humanoid reptiles. Thankfully, Spider Man put a halt to the Lizard’s plan and helped him to revert back to his human form. Connors’ tale is just one more cautionary tale that underscores why you should always think before you drink.
The only glass of green liquid that we would drink is the Bookmakers Cocktail Club’s (located in Baltimore, Maryland) Something Green. The bar creates cocktails that are worthy for a bookshelf but won’t turn you into an alligator.
Cocktail ingredients: St.George Pear Brandy, Over-proof Rum, Midori, Yuzu Sake, Lustau Blanc Vermouth, coconut cream, and lime.
The Golden Sentry Serum – The Sentry
Many people had high hopes for the character that was finally going to give Marvel Comics their answer to DC Comics’ Superman. Instead, he the Sentry written with one of the most convoluted origin stories imaginable, while somehow being simultaneously devoid of any personality or charisma. In an effort to give the character further unnecessary flaws, the Robert Reynolds was given a backstory as a former drug addict who acquired the powers of a golden god when he broke into a lab in the pursuit of something that would maintain his righteous buzz, stumbling upon the beaker of golden liquid by pure accident. In terms of sheer power, the Golden Sentry Serum is probably the most potent gulp of liquid in all of the MCU. It’s just a shame the Sentry’s power and potency never transferred over to the storytelling that guided his actions.
Raleigh, North Carolina chef Scott Crawford’s second restaurant, Jolie, may be new but it’s already serving cocktails that are going to be classics. Their cocktail, Chartreusienne, is truly liquid gold. You will want to order two. We promise.
Cocktail ingredients: cremant, gin, yellow chartreuse, lemon, and honey.
The McCoy Mutant Serum – The Beast
When original X-Men member Hank “Beast” McCoy needed to hide his secret mutant-gene-enhancing serum to prevent it from being stolen by his jealous lab partner, he decided to gulp it down on the spot. The concoction turned Hank into a bigger, stronger, beastlier and more iconic version of himself, complete with fangs and blue fur. Years later, Marvel Comics’ writers decided to use this incident as the basis for the creation of Mutant Growth Hormone, which any average joe could use to replicate the powers of a superhero. But in Hank’s case, drinking the serum made him a cooler character than he had ever been before, granted him a signature look, led to his recruitment by the Avengers, and ultimately granted him a new identity as the famous bouncing, blue Beast!
The Grey Restaurant, James Beard Award-winning Mashama Bailey’s Savannah restaurant, serves a cocktail fit for Hank “Beast” McCoy. Named after Lewis Carroll’s novel, Through the Looking Glass is a cocktail is appropriate for Hank because he didn’t know what would happen when he drank his serum. You have to visit The Grey and order Through the Looking Glass to discover for yourself what the cocktail tastes like.
Cocktail ingredients: rums, absinthe, apricot, banana, honey, lemon, and milk.
Breathing Potion – The Kree and The Atlanteans
In the 1960s, breathing potion was a common way for Marvel Comics’ writers to dance around the biological limitations they’d imposed on some of their most exotic characters. When Namor the Submariner’s Atlantean mother needed to be able to get to the surface world in order to meet up with Namor’s father and get pregnant, she took a breathing potion. When the original Captain Marvel of the alien Kree race showed up on Earth as part of a Kree task force and needed to be able to breathe in our atmosphere, he drank a breathing potion. Apparently, potion was the most convenient means for overcoming a complex problem in the space of a single comic panel. Perhaps this is a reason why so many people in the real world think drinking a glass of something spicy and delicious will make all of their problems go away.
Ticonderoga Club’s Nerve Pill cocktail won’t make your problems go away, but it may be just the thing you need after a long day at work to take the edge off. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Ticonderoga Club is on 39 CurEat lists, including food and drinks journalist Angela Hansberger’s “Places that Make Me Happy When the World Brings Me Down” list.
Cocktail ingredients: High Wire Gin, Fino Sherry, C. Comoz Blanc Vermouth, and and olive.
The Elixir Vitae – Diablo
If the Marvel Comics Universe was to nominate one super villain to be its premier mixologist, it would undoubtedly be Diablo. Every single one of his schemes involves the use of some potion he has mixed, whether it’s for the purpose of brainwashing someone to do his bidding, to create some unstable mixture with the intent of blowing a superhero to smithereens, or even one to smooth out the rocky, orange skin of the Fantastic Four’s Thing. Apparently, there’s no drink this man can’t mix! However, Diablo’s foremost potion is the Elixir Vitae, which granted him immortality, and helps to explain why he has been driving people crazy since the ninth century. Unfortunately for him, Diablo couldn’t generate the potion with his own alchemical knowledge, so he made a literal deal with the devil – Mephisto – to gain access to the recipe at the cost of his soul. In case Diablo wasn’t a big enough jerk to begin with, shaking hands with Marvel’s version of Satan certainly puts him over the top!
For this cocktail, we’re going to circle back to the Black Rabbit in Nashville, especially since 16 people have Black Rabbit on their CurEat lists. We are certain Diablo would order The Devil’s Temptation, seeing that he made a deal with the devil to create the potion that gave him immortality.
Cocktail ingredients: gin, lemon verbena, lemon, and grenadine.
The Quickdraw Potion – Harold “Hurricane” Kane
Harold Kane was a failed outlaw in the Old West who stumbled upon an old Native American medicine man who was preparing to distribute a speed-enhancing potion amongst the braves in his tribe. Selfishly, Kane decided to drink the whole thing himself. Despite having a quickdraw speed that was now superhumanly fast, Harold’s accuracy was still otherworldly pathetic. This meant he could never overcome the likes of the Two-Gun Kid, the Phantom Rider and the Rawhide Kid, no matter how quick on the trigger he may have been. It’s just one more tale to demonstrate how precision and timing can be far more important than speed.
In keeping with the Native American theme, Bread Bar in Silver Plume, Colorado serves a cocktail called Chief Colorow. He wasn’t a medicine man, but he was a horseman and warrior. He was a Ute chief of the Ute Mountain Utes. Thanks to CurEater and Denver food stylist, Ellie Nonemacher, we found Bread Bar on her “Denver’s Must Have Cocktails” CurEat list.
Cocktail ingredients: bourbon, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, and bitters.
You can find and pin the Marvel Comics cocktails list here.
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