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Who wants a drink: Nerd bar owner writes ‘Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy’

Doctor’s orders: Andy Heidel will host the book launch party for his “Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy” at his Doctor Who–themed bar in Prospect Heights on Sept. 30.
Brooklyn Paper
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It’s just what the Doctor ordered!

The owner of Brooklyn’s favorite nerd bar is bringing his fantastic, science-fictional concoctions to the masses. Andy Heidel, who opened the “Doctor Who”—themed bar the Way Station in Prospect Heights six years ago, has written “The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy,” a tome filled with 100 recipes inspired by nerd franchises from “Alien” to “The X-Files,” along with drinking advice and stories from behind the bar. We chatted with Heidel before his launch party for the book, happening at his bar on Sept. 30.

Bill Roundy: Who is the audience for “The Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy?”

Andy Heidel: People like me. Nerds. Geeks. Pretty much every thirsty nerd there is in the galaxy.

BR: Are nerds a noticeably heavy-drinking group?

AH: They are here at the Way Station!

BR: It’s not just recipes — there are a lot of tips for drinking novices in the book.

AH: I’ve noticed that this bar has been a lot of nerds’ first experience at a bar. And so there’s a lot of education that goes along with that, like how to properly tip, and what is proper bar etiquette. So I wanted to include that in the book, to train these young thirsty drinkers, who are gonna be going out for their first time how to have a great time, either at the bar, or at home. And just really broke down how to make the cocktails in the simplest way possible. Some of my customers get stressed out when it comes to recipes, so I wanted to make it as easy as possible for them — without creating an entire home bar — to create a cocktail.

So I talk about parts, instead of 1.5 ounces. When the measurements are so minute, if you don’t have a jigger at your house, you’re already stunted in your process. But when I talk about parts, you can use a measuring spoon, a cup, anything! And [I wanted] to have ingredients which are easy to find, all across the country.

BR: How did you come up with the recipes?

AH: It’s funny. Some of the inspiration came from the name itself, like the Captain Jack from “Dr. Who.” People drink Jack and Coke, people drink Captain Morgan and Coke. So: half Jack Daniels, half Captain Morgan, top it off with Coca-Cola!

Others were inspired by classic cocktails or well-known cocktails, like the [Star Trek–inspired] Warp Core Sex on the Breach. I came up with the name — it’s one of my favorite names — and said ‘Let’s go to the Sex on the Beach, and let’s make it better, and not as cloyingly sweet, and fun.’

BR: Or the Escape from New York, which is a Manhattan variation.

AH: Exactly. Some already existed here at the bar, like the Sonic Screwdrivers, and the Shirley Temple of Doom, and so I used that as my starting point, and then went on from there.

The toughest cocktail that I tried to make that would relate to a franchise was the Fantastic Four. And I’m like: ‘I’ve got a great name, the Fantastic Four, and I can’t come up with this cocktail that represents everybody [on the team].’ And that’s why I gave up and just made a joke cocktail. Clear glass, stick of gum, couple of rocks, fill it with kerosene and light it on fire! I give up!

BR: I liked the joke drink for [notoriously slow “Game of Thrones” author] George R. R. Martin.

AH: I love my George R. R. Martini. It takes two to four years to make.

Cocktail Guide to the Galaxy Release Party at the Way Station [683 Washington Ave. between Prospect and St. Marks places in Prospect Heights, (347) 627–4949, www.thewaystationbk.com]. Sept. 30 at 5 pm. Free. Books $22.99.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at broundy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Updated 5:55 pm, July 9, 2018
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