Name Your Poison Day: 5 Drinks and Desserts from 5 Novels

It’s Name Your Poison Day! Celebrate with five fictional adult beverages and desserts you can make at home.

Food & Wine Just For Fun Pop Culture
name your poison day

If you’re told to “name your poison,” you probably have an idea of what means. Often, it’s used as a prompt to choose between two undesirable choices—the lesser of two evils. It’s also used in reference to alcohol. Perhaps you’ve heard bartenders in TV shows, movies, or in real life, use the phrase to ask someone what they want to drink. In rarer cases, you might hear desserts and sweets called “poison.” Whatever the case, the popularization of the phrase moved someone somewhere to deem June 8 Name Your Poison Day. So, in honor of this great day, it only makes sense to indulge in your poison of choice. Here are five options of fiction-turned-fact drinks and desserts whose made-up recipes have been translated to real life for your enjoyment.


End of the World Delight (Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut)

cat's cradle drink

Cat’s Cradle is a satirist’s novel commenting on society’s views of progress through the pursuit of truth. Kurt Vonnegut doesn’t hold back from heavy topics and his characters carry the weight of it all. In chapter 12 of the novel, a bartender tells of a man who came into his bar insisting on a drink because the world was ending (post-atomic bomb dropping). And so the End of the World Delight was created. Though the origin is dark, the recipe is simple enough for anyone to give it a try.

What you’ll need:

  • ½ pint of crème de menthe
  • 1 hollowed-out pineapple
  • whipped cream
  • 1 cherry

Ambrosia (Percy Jackson series – Rick Riordan)

percy jackson ambrosia

Greek mythology is the true origin of this powerful nectar. It has healing properties and is a drink for the gods. However, many of us who grew up with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series might have had our first encounter with Ambrosia when the demi-gods regularly used it to recover from wounds. Whatever the case, the description for this drink is undeniably irresistible. Here’s a more human version because we don’t all have the fortune of being born to a godly parent.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 oz. coconut rum
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Garnish with mini marshmallows, cherries, and rosemary

PanGalactic Gargle Blaster (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams)

pan galactic gargle blaster

The drink uses intergalactic ingredients. That is, everything that goes into it, aside from olives, cannot be found on Earth. And while it’s impossible to figure out what the earthly equivalents to Fallian marsh gas, the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger, and Zamphuor are, there are about 17 different recreations of the drink from around the world. Each one attempting to capture the feeling of “having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.” This is one of the first variations of the drink made in the 1990s in Canada.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 oz. whiskey
  • ½ oz. peach schnapps
  • ½ oz. blue curaçao
  • Fill the rest of the glass with orange juice


Cauldron Cakes (Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling)

cauldron cakes

One of the attractions of the wizarding world are its unique, and often enchanted sweets. Anyone who says they don’t want to try those chocolate frogs or the weirdly flavored jelly beans is missing out. One such treat are the Cauldron Cakes found on the Honeyduke Trolley aboard the Hogwarts Express. They’re made in little cauldrons as the name suggests and the recipe is relatively simple: you’ll make a chocolate cake with frosting.

What you’ll need:

  • Mini cauldron baking mold
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 3 tbsp. of cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. buttermilk
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups buttercream frosting
  • ¼ tsp. of red food coloring
  • ¼ tsp. of yellow food coloring

Uncle Monty’s Coconut Cake (A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room – Lemony Snicket)

uncle monty's coconut cake

The lives of the Baudelaires are anything but normal. Constantly running from and fighting off Count Olaf and his henchmen is their main concern throughout this series, along with finding out the truth about their family and parents. So the coconut cake their Uncle Monty offers in the Reptile Room is almost a welcome moment of the mundane amidst a world of chaos. Inspired by a fictional world where literal poison is not entirely off the table, this real coconut cake recipe can be your “poison” of choice this Name Your Poison Day.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups softened butter
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. of salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. coconut flavoring
  • 6 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 14 oz. coconut milk (save the solidified cream in the can for frosting)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. of coconut or vanilla flavoring
  • Coconut flakes