Ground Control to Major Tom: My cocktail tribute to David Bowie

Like many people, my first reaction to David Bowie's passing was shock. I understood on a rational level that he, like me, was human, and therefore mortal... But I think part of me didn't really believe could die. That maybe he was beyond death-- larger than it as he had been larger than life. 

His passing leaves many things to grapple with: The incredible weight he must have felt knowing his death was coming soon; the urgency to respond to this revelation with a final performance and creative gift to the world. The fact that a gift is given whether the recipients deserve it.  A sometimes ugly past. The incredible legacy of his work. 

I feel confident in saying that many of my favorite artists-- musicians and otherwise-- would not be who they are today without David Bowie defying the status quo. The complicated intricacies of his past need not be overlooked to still appreciate the incredible contribution he made to our culture, from gender politics to art. That work deserves tribute from all who were impacted by it. Raising a glass felt like the most fitting way to say thank you to that incredible Oddity in the sky. 

Two cocktails inspired by David Bowie's "Space Oddity" 

By Sara Galactica

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

Ground Control

What you'll need:

  • 2 oz coffee liqueur 
  • 1/2 oz Fernet Branca bitter amaro
  • Approximately 1-2 oz craft beer: A mellow IPA or amber would work best here-- something with defined but not-over-the-top hoppiness (I used Ecliptic Brewing Filament Winter IPA)

What to do:

Fill your cocktail pitcher halfway with ice and add coffee liqueur and Fernet. Stir gently for 45 seconds to achieve the right temperature and melt. 

Strain mixture into a cocktail or coupe glass. Hold a spoon over the glass so the back of the spoon is facing up, and gently drizzle the beer over the spoon and into the glass until just full. This will cut down on getting things too foamy (much like pouring against a pint glass). 

No garnish necessary. 

Major Tom

What you'll need:

  • 1 oz gin (I recommend choosing something with a straightforward & traditional gin profile)
  • 1 oz dry vermouth 
  • 1/4 tsp Angostura bitters 
  • Bitter lemon*

What to do:

In a rocks glass combine gin, vermoth, and bitters and give it a little stir to combine. 

Add ice. I used one large cube, but you can fill your glass with crushed ice, or throw in whatever you prefer. Top with bitter lemon soda.

Lemon twist or slice garnish.

*Bitter lemon soda has quinine and lemon, like a lemony tonic water. Schweppes Bitter Lemon is what most people know, but Fever Tree is what I had access to locally. If you can't find it in your grocery store, simply substitute 1/4-1/2 oz lemon juice (depending on your lemony preferences) and the tonic water of your choice instead.