Thalassophobia | Subnautica

At first glance, Subnautica might seem to be a cute cartoonish game about life under the sea. But start playing, start swimming into the unknown, and it’s obvious this is a game about one thing and one thing only: pure, unadulterated fear.


You’ll need:

  • 30ml creme de cassis
  • 30ml dry French brandy
  • 120 ml dry rose wine
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Blue sugar (optional)


  1. Add the brandy, wine and bitters to a shaker filled with ice.
  2. Stir for 10 to 15 seconds to chill.
  3. Optionally, rim a champagne coupe glass with blue sugar crystals.
  4. Strain the shaker into the coupe glass.
  5. Over the back of a bar spoon, layer the creme de cassis carefully to float it to the bottom.
  6. Serve!

You can also experiment with making sugar infused with butterfly pea flower tea. This will give it a light purple tint, but more importantly will make the sugar rim slowly turn darker and more red with every sip due to the acid. The darker the blue to start with, the more obvious the red hue change will be.

To create the butterfly sugar, simply make up a strong batch of butterfly pea flower tea and drip a couple of drops into normal caster sugar, then shake the crap out of it. Shake it enough, and it will uniformly take on the pale colour you’re after. Not dark enough? Just add more drops and shake again.

If you’re after a particularly dark colour, be aware that you may need to put a lot of the tea in, and then let the sugar dry out before trying to rim a glass with it. Best to leave it overnight in this case, then use a metal spoon to crush the now-solidified mass into fine sugar crystals.

WARNING. Leviathan-class entities detected beyond this point. For the safety of yourself and your crew, do not proceed. REPEAT. Do not proceed. — Alterra Corporation Cyclops AI.

Best enjoyed with the glass in one hand and the controls of the Cyclops in the other—but be warned: even in the comfort of a personal submersible, Thalassophobia can always find a way to strike…



Fykiaphobia (fear of seaweed)

Replace the creme de cassis with Midori.

Icthyophobia (fear of fish)

Replace the brandy with tequila.

Megalophobia (fear of large things)

Replace the rose with Pinot Noir.

Hydrophobia (fear of water)

Replace the brandy with vodka.

Why these ingredients?

Subnautica is an excellent game, but also a personal nightmare for anyone who suffers from the fear of the sea—formally known as “thalassophobia”.

This fear is typically associated with deep, dark and expansive places on, in or under the ocean, and the terrifying creatures emerging from them—and spooky places with creepy things are features that Subnautica boasts in spades.

While players might start off in the cutely-named “Safe Shallows”, it’s impossible to proceed in the game without eventually take a deep breath (literally) and descending into the deep places where creatures like the Ghost Leviathan, Reaper Leviathan and Sea Treader Leviathans roam freely.

Even friendly creatures like the Sea Emperor and passive monsters like the Reefbacks are terrifying to encounter for the very-much-human-sized player.

The experience of thalassophobia, therefore, is an unavoidable part of the game and an extremely apt name for a drink that takes its inspiration from Subnautica.

Much like the game, this experience will start you off sweet and simple, with the sugar rim and dry rose lulling you into a false sense of security with sweet strawberry and citrus notes.

But venture out too far, too fast, and you start hitting the deep, dark, rich flavours of the creme de cassis, the sweet simplicity of those pale shallows just a distant memory as you venture deeper and deeper in search of an escape…

For more video game inspired cocktails, make sure to follow me on Instagram for all the latest concoctions.

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