When you’re hankering for a jolt of nuclear pep in your step, reach for NUKA-COLA. Remember; polonium is just another word for flavour!
- 1 oz aged rum
- 1/2 oz blue curacao
- 1/2 oz cherry brandy
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- Your favourite cola
Add all ingredients except the cola to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir briefly to chill. Strain into a Collins glass also filled with ice. Add cola to taste. Garnish with a festive umbrella. Serve!
“Nuka-Cola! If you don’t like it, you’re a filthy Commie!”—Nuka-Cola advertisement, circa 2067AD.
Contrary to popular belief, Nuka-Cola isn’t simply the Fallout equivalent of Coca Cola. Sure, the logo might look eerily familiar, as do the bottles in the original series (before the rocketship revamp in the later games), but they aren’t the same where it counts: in flavour.
With a little digging, you’ll discover that Nuka-Cola is made with dozens of different kinds of fruit—something which distinguishes it significantly from Coca Cola. In fact, the fruity flavours of Nuka-Cola are so distinctive that when one of the fruits used in its bottling wasn’t available one year, the batches from that bottling tasted noticeably different.
So while it might be tempting to chuck some vodka in some coke and call that Nuka, it wouldn’t be a faithful recreation.
Instead, the recipe above uses a combination of fruit liqueurs to replicate the iconic beverage. As much as I like the opportunity to experiment with my cocktails, I didn’t want to create a beverage that used the same dozens of fruits as the ‘real’ Nuka-Cola—mostly because it wouldn’t taste particularly good.
Instead, I stuck to cherry brandy, blue curacao and lemon juice, as well as the more subtle fruitiness of a well-aged rum (use Jamaican rum for maximum pineapple), which I feel is the best combo of fruits that accentuate the goodness of cola.
It might not be a stimpack, but the denizens of the Wasteland would probably appreciate one of these Potions of Healing from Dungeons & Dragons if they ever ran across a Deathclaw den.
Better yet, the combo of the rum, blue curacao and cherry brandy creates a deep brown liquid that looks the part, even before the regular cola is added—though this will depend on the colours of your brandy and curacao. In the video above, I used a slightly different liqueur brand combo than my initial experiments, and there’s a definite difference in the colour. The lemon juice helps knock back the sugar bomb of a beverage this is, and adds a lovely astringent sharpness too.
If you’re not a fan of the sugar sweetness from the cola, you can instead shake the drink and strain it into a martini glass, then top it off with soda water instead. It’s best to add some cola simple syrup too, if you want to get that lovely caramel colour without the added sugar.
There it is: the recipe for Nuka Cola, a fruity, sweet cocktail that is well worth scavenging the wasteland for—and we didn’t even charge you a single cap for this highly sought-after recipe!
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