Cocktail Inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune

I posted a video with some thoughts on Dune and Nootropics. I also came up with a cocktail inspired by the book. I am in love with this cocktail. The 2021 film is coming out soon on HBO(!) so if you want to make this for your screening, here’s the recipe:

Spiced Tequila Sour Of Shai Hulud (May His Passing Cleanse the World):

Assemble in a shaker with ice:

1.5 oz Corzo Silver Tequila (for the memory of the desert sands of Dune)
0.75 oz ginger syrup* (to stimulate the mind)
0.75 oz fresh lemon juice (it gives its body’s water that the tribe may survive)
Two dashes cinnamon bitters (for the Spice must flow)


Place a large, clear ice cube in a glass. Add one bar spoon of blue curacao (for the blue within blue eyes of the fremen). Strain the drink over the cube and serve.

*To make ginger syrup: Assemble 0.5 cup sugar, 0.5 cup water and ~4 ounces of sliced fresh ginger in a pot, heat over medium heat while stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just starts to bubble. Strain into a bottle for storage.

In Dune, melange has a cinnamon smell and it slowly stains the sclera blue. People who use a lot of Spice develop blue-within-blue eyes. I wanted to make a blue drink that tastes of cinnamon and, ideally, allows me to bend time and space.

Most blue drinks get their color from the blue pea flower extract or blue food coloring. Empress gin is an example of the former and blue curacao is an example of the latter. I really resisted using synthetic blue for this drink.

The blue pea flower pigment is an anthrocyanin and this has the unfortunate property that it turns pink in acid. That makes a fine pH indicator but a poor choice for my purposes. A blue gin sour, blue gimlet or blue gin daiquiri will all become pink drinks, which is not ideal.

I had to use blue curacao and its blue food coloring. It feels like cheating. But I’m a chemist, heck it, and there’s nothing wrong with synthetic dyes.

Blue curacao is just orange liqueur with blue blue no. 1. That pigment is a triarylmethane dye. Its color is stable to pH changes so I went with that.

I tried several versions with goldschlager, the clear cinnamon schnapps. None were good. The sweet cinnamon schnapps overpowers everything in a very unpleasant way. Instead, I much prefer to use a little of these cinnamon bitters, which adds subtle and complex cinnamon undertones without being overwhelming or adding sweetness.

As of yet, this drink has not allowed me to bend time and space, but admittedly I’ve only had one over the course of an evening. Let me know if you teleport!