The Drawl

4 Cocktails You Should Drink to Remember the Moon Landing

Bartenders across town have concocted a variety of NASA-centric offerings to help Houston celebrate that “one small step” right.

By Dianna Wray June 25, 2019 Published in the July 2019 issue of Houstonia Magazine

After months of buildup, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is finally upon us—this July 19–21. To mark the occasion, businesses across Houston have been crafting clever lunar-tastic promotions, offering everything from sandwich discounts (a SpaceCenter Houston ticket stub will get you 50 percent off at Antone’s) to couples’ retreat packages (the Hotel Derek offer comes with a personalized horoscope, which we guess makes sense).

But we prefer to celebrate the day Neil Armstrong invented the real moonwalk the old-fashioned way, by clinking glasses over Apollo 11–inspired libations and toasting the astronaut trio who pulled the mission off, as well as the thousands who worked behind the scenes for years to make it possible. If you’re of the same mind, you’re in luck: Bartenders across town have concocted a variety of NASA-centric offerings to help Houston celebrate that “one small step” right, all available through the end of the month.

1. The Houston We Have Liftoff 

No Apollo 11 celebration would be complete without a Tang-centric cocktail option, which is why Matt Sharp,  bartender at Bosscat Kitchen and Libations, has shaken up this creation, made with citrus syrup derived from the powdered drink mix that astronauts have been using in space since the Gemini days, plus vodka and bitters. 

Image: Visit Houston

2. The First Word

As any good Houstonian will tell you, the first word spoken from the moon was “Houston.” And what better way to remind the world that we hold this distinction than by ordering up the First Word over at El Big Bad? The drink is made with Sotol Blanco tequila, Green Chartreuse and Maraschino liqueurs,  and lime juice. 

Image: Visit Houston

3. The Michael Collins Remembered

It’s almost too easy to forget that there was a third member of the Apollo 11 astronaut crew. Luckily, Caracol is here to remind us with the Michael Collins Remembered, featuring Glenfiddich Fire & Cane single malt Scotch, Suerte Reposado tequila, bitters, and Huana Mayan Guanábana liqueur, with a toasted blue corn ice cube. Order one and raise a glass to Collins, who spent the bulk of the mission flying around the moon solo while Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down on its surface.  

Image: Shutterstock

4. The Moonwalk 

Perhaps you prefer to gaze up at the night sky from your own backyard and ponder the fact that 50 years ago, man finally walked on the surface of that glowing orb. If so, whip yourself up a Moonwalk (1 oz. grapefruit juice, 1 oz. orange liqueur, and 3 drops rosewater shaken with ice, poured in a champagne glass, and topped off with bubbly). Created back in 1969 by Joe Gilmore, head bartender at the Savoy’s American Bar in London, in honor of the moon landing, the cocktail was the first thing Armstrong and Aldrin sipped upon their return to Earth. (Did Collins drink a Moonwalk? Was he even offered one? We may never know.)

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