‘Space Juice’ mocktail to be served at ESA’s Jupiter spacecraft launch party

The winning recipe was made with tonic water, coconut water, ginger ale, apple juice, blue spirulina and edible golden sparkling powder (Pexels)
The winning recipe was made with tonic water, coconut water, ginger ale, apple juice, blue spirulina and edible golden sparkling powder (Pexels)

Not content with serving up a whiskey solar or a cosmos-politan, the European Space Agency (ESA) will offer a Jupiter-inspired mocktail at its launch party to celebrate its Juice mission.

The Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) mission will consist of several flybys of Jupiter’s satellites, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa, before going into orbit around Ganymede. The mission’s aim is to explore Ganymede as a planetary body and potential habitat, and it is due to launch on April 13.

The ESA will celebrate the launch with a party, where the winning mocktail will be served. More than 70 people submitted their recipes to the Space Juice competition in January, with smoothies, coffees and iced teas among the mix.

The winning recipe was a concoction by Margherita Gagnoni, who was inspired by Europa’s geology. The mocktail features both European and tropical flavours, with a sparkling blue ocean made of spirulina – ancient algae representing the possible life conditions on the icy moon.

In second place was Saskia Seemann's purple mocktail, which represented Jupiter’s cloudy atmosphere with a candy-floss garnish.

Meanwhile, third place went to Barbara Grandeclaude’s mocktail, which was inspired by Juice’s journey and represented the launcher’s fuel tanks.

Drinks were judged on how they represented the mission, their overall appearance and, finally, a taste-test round.

“What stood out is how all entrants cleverly linked their ingredients to the themes of ESA’s Juice mission to come up with so many different drink recipes,” commented Olivier Witasse, ESA’s Juice project scientist.

“With their buried oceans and tantalising potential for life, Jupiter’s icy moons, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa, are clearly at the heart of many recipes. These moons are central to our Juice mission, symbolising human fascination in understanding if life could ever have existed elsewhere in the Solar System beyond Earth.”

Entrants interpreted Jupiter’s icy moon by including frozen fruit and icy shells in their recipes, while the planet’s cloudy atmosphere was represented with candy floss and crushed ice.

“The tropical location of Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, from where Juice will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket in April, was also well expressed in the ingredients and flavours of the drinks,” said Juice engineer Maneula Baroni, who is currently working at the Spaceport to prepare the Juice spacecraft for launch.

“I particularly loved the ingenious use of cayenne pepper in one recipe to represent Cayenne (the capital city of French Guiana) and the hard work of the launch team and engineers at Europe’s Spaceport – much appreciated!”

Alfredo Carpineti, astrophysicist and mixologist who reviewed the shortlist, said: “I was so impressed with how everyone found such creative and delicious ways to represent ESA’s Juice mission. Everyone should feel very proud.

“I look forward to drinking Margherita’s mocktail in a few weeks as we see this incredible spacecraft begin its journey to Jupiter.”

But will we be seeing these mocktails on London’s bar scene anytime soon? Shoreditch-based mixologist Conor Green has his doubts but admires the entrants’ creativity: “Despite not being of a standard to serve in any bar or restaurant, it’s clear the creators leant into creative methods to hone the novelty of the theme.”