Classic (Game) Cocktail of the Week: The Argool Sunset

Welcome the weekend by mixing up a perfect adult beverage to accompany our latest podcast.

Hello and welcome to Friday, better known as the gateway drug to the weekend. Some people like to unwind over the weekend by listening to favorite podcasts; many more people like to wind down by drinking alcoholic libations. We figure: Why not both? With the Classic (Game) Cocktail column, I'll be offering recommendations on cocktail recipes to accompany our most recent podcast episode. I won't post one of these every week, but hopefully before too long we'll have a nice little recipe book...

Disclaimer: Please drink responsibly, and only if you are of legal age (or have permission). 

Classic (Game) Cocktail #1: The Argool Sunset

In this week's podcast, we tackled the growth and evolution of the metroidvania genre during the NES era. One of the very first open-ended action-RPG platformers to appear on the system in the wake of Metroid came from Tecmo, in a very surprising adaptation of the linear, repetitive arcade slash-em-up Rygar. In coming up with a theme for this week's drink suggestion, I found myself drawn to Rygar's most iconic image: The Warrior of Argos beginning his journey into the land of Argool with a blood-red 8-bit sunset serving as the backdrop.

The image everyone knows from this game, even if they bailed on it after 30 seconds.

This cocktail — the Argool Sunset — references the popular ’70s tequila sunset cocktail, but it is a thing all unto itself, based around a somewhat unconventional flavored gin. It's based on a recipe I found at Food Republic while trying to figure out precisely what one does with a bottle of saffron-infused gin, which I had picked up on a whim and quickly found myself vexed by.

Luxardo maraschino (cherry liqueur), Lejay creme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur), Gabriel Boudoir saffron-infused gin, limoncello, Campari (grapefruit liqueur), Angostura bitters


  • 2 oz. saffron-infused gin or vodka
  • 1/4 oz. maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. limoncello
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 1/4 tsp. Campari
  • 1/4 tsp. creme de cassis

The star of this cocktail is the saffron gin. Gabriel Boudier makes and sells saffron gin in the U.S., but it's a highly specific liquor that doesn't work for general use unless you really like saffron — I don't see myself buying another bottle of this once it's done. But that's OK, because it's not too hard to make your own (though it won't be ready in time for this weekend, I'm afraid): Let a saffron thread soak in a sealed bottle of gin (or vodka, but with vodka you lose the other botanicals that help balance out the earthy flavor of the saffron) for at least a week, then strain the infusion through a cheesecloth to remove the saffron particulates.

Orange juice won't cut it for this drink, I'm afraid. Nor an orange vodka. The clear orange color of the saffron is the basis of this cocktail (so no juice), and the ingredients are specifically meant to round out herb's distinct earthy flavor (so no orange): The tart sweetness of the limoncello, the nutiness of the maraschino, the bitter note of the Campari and bitters balance the saffron perfectly.


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and set aside the Campari and creme de cassis for a moment.

This limoncello doesn't have a brand name since it was a gift someone apparently picked up for me at a random market in Italy, which is fine — it's a liqueur you can make yourself pretty easily if you don't want to track down a bottle of it.

Pour the saffron gin, maraschino, limoncello, and bitters into the shaker and shake vigorously until it's all nice and cold. Pour the mixture into a cocktail glass.

Using the back of a bar spoon, pour the creme de cassis and then the Campari into the glass.

AKA nature's digital gradient

The finished cocktail should have layers of orange, red, and purple. Just like a sunset, see. Now press play on the latest episode of Retronauts, kick back, and enjoy your drink.


  • +5 Tone
  • +3 Mind


  • If this much straight alcohol is a bit much for you (understandably), you can treat this drink like a Negroni and drink it in a rocks glass over ice to dilute its intensity.
  • It also works if you drink it with club soda over ice. Add the soda before the creme de cassis and Campari to prevent the all-important color layers from being destroyed.