Dorm Room Bar: The Animal Cell

There are only three things I remember from my high school biology class:

1) I can only successfully dissect an animal if its head has already fallen off;

2) things are exponentially cooler when they’re floating in formaldehyde; and

3) I can make a pretty kickin’ model of an animal cell.

My fourteen-year-old self was so interested by all of the parts of this teeny cell that made up my own body, as well as the bodies of all other mammals (which is kind of unsettling to think about when one’s trying to sear a steak or whip up a quick chicken salad for lunch). I remember being up until all hours of the night before my project was due gluing on mini mitochondrion (which have an uncanny resemblance to kidney beans) and painting layer after layer of gold glitter paint all over the outer membrane, which probably wasn’t very realistic. Whatever: it’s my cell model, and I’ll make it sparkle if I want to.

In my college years, my scientific interests have switched from biology to chemistry. And by chemistry, I mean mixology. And by mixology, I really mean drinking cocktails. As a follow up to my English-major-inspired concoction, I decided that the scientific world needed a stiff drink from time to time, too.

This specific spirit is carefully crafted to resemble the animal cells I studied in my youth: a Gobstopper nucleolus is submerged in a nucleus comprised of pineapple, which then sinks deep into a brightly hued cytoplasm. A person can only look into a microscope, cut into muscle tissue, and use those dizzying vocabulary words for so long before she needs to let loose with a delicious beverage. In fact, especially if she is using that vocabulary; terminology always seems to make more sense after a drink or four.

Johanna Caruthers is a senior English major at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She likes unicorns, baking, poetry, and roller skating.


The Animal Cell
Serves 10 trillion cells, or rather one human being

Gobstoppers hard candy
Pineapple vodka
Any violently colored, alcoholic malt beverage (such as Segram’s Escapes)

Drop one Gobstopper into a shot glass and fill with pineapple vodka. Fill one tall tumbler with the preferred malt beverage, then carefully drop the shot glass into the tumbler. Enjoy at your leisure, and save the dissections for a later day; scapels and alcohol really don’t play well together.

Originally posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012

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