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'Star Trek' Booze: 50 Years Of Drinking With The Starship Enterprise

With all the drama unfolding on The Starship Enterprise, it's no surprise the 'Star Trek' cast turned to drinking.  

For the proud accomplishment of lasting half a century, a 50th anniversary is golden. It deserves a celebratory toast for any species in any part of the galaxy, and in the latest Trek film, fans get a fun tip of the glass after a fashion. Early on in Star Trek: Beyond, director Justin Lin’s action packed entry in Paramount Pictures feature film franchise, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Bones (Karl Urban) share a rare quiet moment by drinking together in Enterprise’s officer’s lounge. The two friends and Starfleet officers take the time to down a little Saurian Brandy—an alien drink all too familiar to fans from way back in the day of the start of the original series.

It’s a nice bonding moment for the men, and a refreshing way to establish 50 years of Gene Roddenberry’s space opera. Also, it more than alludes to just how fun and even important booze has been to the Enterprise crew over the star trekkin decades.

From the early days of the famous aborted 5 year mission, to ST: Beyond’s 2016 summer blockbuster, Starfleet crew break bread and drink with alien races they encounter. All that extraterrestrial socializing often means tying one on or bellying up to the bar. Remember how drunk Scotty got with that big alien dude? How about the Irish inspired aliens on Next Generation who got Worf to teach them the pleasures of 24th century replicated booze? No matter if it was an ale, fine wine, beer or other sort of alcohol based beverage, be assured someone - or some thing - drank it, smuggled it or replicated it to the point of delirious inebriation.

Drinking with loved ones—especially during important social occasions such as weddings or anniversaries—is a popular activity ingrained in practically all of human culture. During the formation of Roddenberry’s future universe, the notion he’d break such revered tradition would have been risky. Smoking was definitely a no-no for Starfleet professionals. Considering responsible health concerns, even back in the late 1960’s, it’s laudable the original series producers followed that route. Although it’s obvious the dramatic and comedic possibilities inherent in extreme inebriation far outweigh a friendly toke or two amongst star spawned friends.

Romulan Ale - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

‘Romulan ale? Why Bones, you know this is illegal.’ - Captain Kirk
‘I only use it for medicinal purposes.’ - Dr. McCoy

Medicinal purposes being considered, of course, this is probably Star Trek’s most recognizable alcoholic beverage. Colored a pale or dark blue, the highly intoxicating drink came into the fan lexicon when Bones gave a bottle of the stuff to Kirk on his birthday in 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, directed by Nicholas Meyer.

Though appreciative of his birthday gift, Kirk reminds his physician friend the blue ale is illegal, to which McCoy extols its healing virtues. From its reputation, I’d say chronic drinkers of the alien brew need many trips to the sickbay to recover from the famed Romulan medicine.

During the tourist trap days of the amusement park like attraction of The Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas, a kind of Romulan Ale was served to patrons - and it was all perfectly legal. Now that Nicholas Meyer is working as a staff writer and producer on the new Trek incarnation, Star Trek: Discovery, one has to wonder what luscious intoxicants he may dream up to further Trek’s official list of alien spirits.

Bones & Booze - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

‘I offer a toast! The Undiscovered Country.’ - Chancellor Gorkon

Christopher Plummer plays Chang - a Klingon with an eye patch nailed to his skull. Or maybe those are rivets? Whatever the case, all I think of when I see him is OUCH. During the Nicholas Meyer directed film, the Klingons come to a delightful dinner on Enterprise, and what else is served but good old Romulan Ale. Things get dicey though for Bones, after Chancellor Gorkon is assassinated. At the Klingon trial of Kirk and McCoy—think a Kangaroo court with bony foreheads—Chang delights in reminding the good Doctor of all that he had to drink, charging the good doctor with professional incompetence because of advanced age and drunkenness.

Vodka & Scotch - The Trouble With Tribbles 

Ah, Tribbles! Those fuzzy, furry purring fur balls, and the bane of any self respecting Klingon warrior. Forget, Pokemon Go—I want an app which finds me some Tribbles!

The memorable episode is remembered for it’s introduction to the lovable and laughable cotton candy like creatures. What’s almost as memorable is the introduction of the Tribble’s vendor—the one and only Cyrano Jones.

Gifted character actor Stanley Adams (North By Northwest), created the lovable scamp who gifts Lt. Uhura and the Enterprise crew with a playful Tribble plague. Jones is the kind of galactic rogue cut from the same cloth as another fan favorite - Harry Mudd.

The classic episode’s bar scene is established thusly: Scotty, Chekov and another Enterprise crewman sit at a table drinking, when a little friendly competition enters the booze fueled fray. Scotty can’t help himself from teasing Ensign Pavel Chekov about what he’s drinking.

When are you going to get off that milk diet, lad? - Scotty
This is Vodka! - Chekov
Where I come from, that’s soda pop. Now this is a drink for a man. - Scotty
Scotch!? - Chekov
Aye - Scotty
Was invented by a little old lady from Leningrad! - Chekov

After a nearby, rowdy Klingon crashes the little Enterprise crew drinking party, and incites a classic bar fight, Mr. Jones goes into action. Since the bartender is absent, he helps himself to sampling the bar’s brew—without paying for the rounds, of course. As the comic melee goes full throttle, Jones wheels around drinking as many drinks as he can—all the while deftly dodging Scotty, Chekov and the bar brawling Klingons. Just as he's about to down yet another drink, the bartender returns and scoops the glass away. As the camera zooms in on Jones, he dives into his coat’s deep pocket and produces a hidden drink, finishing his little dance by wetting his whistle. The scene remains a true comedy gem, perhaps one of the best comically written and choreographed in all of Star Trek. Ironically, Adams played a bartender on the TV western Gunsmoke.

Guinan & Quark - Alien Barkeeps  

Can you imagine your local watering hole without the jovial presence of a favorite bartender? Call em' that, barkeep or saloon chief, but whatever you do, remember to pay your tab or you’ll end up as dry as planet Vulcan in August.

Whoopi Goldberg’s addition to Next Generation in the show’s second season was a wonderful change for many reasons. Indeed, how many characters get a chance to come onto a show already in progress and bring along their own set? Guinan’s bar, or Ten Forward, gets better with age - the lounge’s spacious set-up, decor and relaxed lighting and ambience suggests that although there may be a more comfortable and enjoyable place on the Enterprise D, you’d probably have to load and run it from a Holodeck Program.

Quarks won’t be accused of being comfortable or even very relaxing, but amid the crash of the Dabo tables and guttural cries from the Holosuites, you can always find its proprietor eager to fulfill your order - be it a beverage or otherwise. Armin Shimerman’s beloved performance as the Ferengi with a master plan - or fall back plan - gave Deep Space Nine a comic backdrop which is difficult to ever trump. Speaking of, I wonder if the Ferengi Alliance ever did business with The Donald?

It’s Green - Star Trek: Generations

In the 7th Trek feature film, and first to showcase the TNG cast, an artificial life form does more with a bottle of mystery booze than most of his human counterparts. All we know about this jade colored concoction is it comes from Frocas III, and that it’s, well, green. After being recently blessed with the addition of an emotion chip, Data (Brent Spiner) visits Ten Forward with his buddy Laforge, to sample Guinan’s liquid wares.

After gulping down the green brew, Data realizes he hates it to which Guinan comments, “More?”, Data replies with a passionate, “Please!” This is the kind of barkeep I want - one who’ll keep urging me to drink the really nasty stuff.  

Troi Gets Smashed - Star Trek: First Contact

Of all the drunk scenes on Trek, and even compared with many in scores of movies and TV shows, the little booze-a-rama for Troi in the Jonathan Frake’s directed First Contact is easily one of the more fun.

Maybe it’s because Counselor Troi didn’t want to drink in the first place. She’s just doing her duty, after all. It could be because Troi’s a more regal, upper crust sort of character than most on the Federation Starship, and to see her completely plastered evokes a certain glee among fans. We know Troi and we like her, but we never ever saw her like this before! Whatever the reason, Marina Sirtis boozing it up with a boozed up James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane succeeds as an unforgettable bit of boozy comedy.  

Golden Anniversary Ale - A Galactic Drink For 50 Years Of Star Trekkin & Boozin

If all this talk of space borne intergalactic booze has you charging to grab a cold one, you're in luck. The Federation of Beer has got you covered. The company deals in making theme craft beers and has released a brew Spock might love, Vulcan Ale and also a Golden Anniversary Ale - The Trouble With Tribbles commemorative brew. Live long, prosper and drink your Romulan Ale!

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