Games and alcohol are two of humankind’s oldest pastimes. When homo sapiens first emerged from the simian gene pool over 250 thousand years ago, we’d toss our spears around every so often, drunk on some derivative of fermented yeast. Today, the essentials remain the same. But there’s more than the occasional game of wasted dodgeball; now we’ve found ourselves also in a digital age of gaming. And in such a video game age, 21 year-old college students Mitch Hutts and Travis Broyles of The Drunken Moogle have arrived to curate the world of alcohol.
Their website, which regularly collects and invents alcoholic drink recipes based on video games, has been popularly received on Tumblr and beyond, recently serving such gems as the Starcraft II-themed “Zerg Rush” (six shots of Fernet Blanca, Hot n’ Sweet, Baileys Irish Cream, and Tabasco sauce in succession, because who attacks with just one Zergling?) and “The Kirby” (cherry jello shot with Malibu, pink lemonade, Bacardi, and blackberry brandy). Geekosystem had the opportunity to chat with Mitch and Travis about the origin of their idea, drunk gaming, and their favorite concoctions.
Geekosystem: Alright, ‘fess up. You two are drunk right now, right?
Mitch Hutts: I am actually sober at this time, haha. Contrary to what some assume, I don’t really spend all my time consuming or thinking about alcohol. Nor do I party it up every chance I get. I keep alcohol on a very healthy level and am very proud of this fact.
Travis Broyles: Drunk is a very broad term… Yes.
What was the motivation behind combining drink mixing and video games into one project? Tell us about yourselves and how you came together to create The Drunken Moogle.
MH: I’m a 21-year-old college student, majoring in visual communications. I’ve been a gamer all my life and started casual drinking this past year.
Earlier in 2009, I had noticed some video game themed drinks, such as the Triforce shot created by the Domestic Scientist. At that time, I didn’t even drink alcohol, but I thought there was something cool about combining two things that seemed so different. I had also run across Scrollbar, thanks to Kotaku. The creativeness and presentation of the drinks [were] incredibly impressive to me.
In October, I started posting some video game themed drinks and wines on my personal blog. After a few days, I realized that there were more than just a few cocktails and shots out on the internet. With this idea in mind, I started a secondary blog where I could simply compile all of these drinks for future reference. That was when the Drunken Moogle was born.
Eventually, I began experimenting with creating my own drinks. I didn’t know much about alcohol, since I had recently just turned 21 and had ignored alcohol for the most part before that point in my life, and I figured that this would be a good way for me to learn more. The first was more of a joke than anything (the Captain Price), as it was just 10 shots of whiskey on the rocks. I started learning a bit more about mixing alcohol and the next few drinks were actual cocktails. Some time after, the tumblr directory was launched and topherchris (tumblr staff) put his recommendation on the site, in the video games directory. I think it was the Crimson Omen that first got noticed. Dean from Gamefreaks of New Zealand started reblogging the things I posted on the Drunken Moogle, and since hasn’t stopped. From there, things just kept getting bigger.
TB: Mitch came to me with the idea … Or actually, I think he just mentioned something about it and I proceeded to crowbar my way in. It’s just a genius idea. People were making video game drinks long before we came around, and there wasn’t really anyway to highlight their masterpieces. Getting involved seemed like a no-brainer.
How did you decide on the Moogle as your site’s mascot?
MH: Well, the Final Fantasy series is my favorite video game series, so I definitely wanted to use something from that. Moogles are nice and recognizable without being an exact character (the Drunken Aeris just doesn’t have the same ring to it). They’re cute and cuddly, but are still intelligent human-like creatures, in most of the games at least. I can imagine a bunch of them in a pub, flying in little crooked lines, singing and laughing.
TB: Oh, it’s a drunken moogle. If you can’t see the obvious appeal in that, then there is no room in my heart for you.
Walk us through the process of concocting a drink, from concept to finish.
MH: Drink ideas actually come fairly easily. It’s all about taking a similarity between the video game reference and ingredients and running with it. Color is very important. You wouldn’t want to make a drink based on Charmander that was blue, it just wouldn’t fit. But at the same time, I try really hard to make sure that color is not the only thing that the cocktail has in common with the game reference.
Once you get into the mindset, it’s pretty easy to find connections that would transfer over from a character/item to an alcoholic beverage. The Bulbasaur/Ivysaur/Venusaur drink was fairly easy to come up with. It had to be green, of course, and I wanted it to include a green plant theme, thus the mint, lime and melon. With the evolution, since the Pokemon are just older forms of the same base creature, I thought it would only be fitting to build off of the first drink.
After mixing drinks for a while you get a better feel for what drinks go together. However, it’s also important to remember that not every drink should be the sweetest thing ever, nor should all drinks even taste good. One of OXM (Official Xbox Magazine) UK‘s cocktails, Boomer Bile, doesn’t look like it tastes that good at all and that’s great! It matches the theme.
Another way to add to the theme is drinking technique. Again, it just comes as natural as deciding what color the drink should be. The Sonic shot simply just had to be a shot. Sonic is fast, shots are fast; it just fits.
Have you found the world of alcohol and games to be vastly separate, or are they more relatable than we think?
MH: I feel the two are pretty separate and it’s the fact that they go so well together that I love! The link between games and alcohol is people. The people who were kids when video games first came out are now growing older. They’re maturing and growing up. They’re not letting go of gaming (rather, gaming is evolving) and are becoming interested in new things like alcohol. The only similarity I can see is that when groups of people get together, some play video games to have fun, some have a few drinks to have fun, and some do both. I mean, why not? Two good things like this make a very good thing.
TB: I think the two often go hand in hand. You don’t need to drink to love games, and you don’t need to play games to enjoy being drunk. But sometimes there is nothing better than a couple beers and a Pokemon Snap speed-run.