Classic (Game) Cocktail of the Week: The Xenogears

Stand tall and shake the mixer.

Some people like to unwind over the weekend by listening to favorite podcasts; others prefer to relaxing with an alcoholic libation. We figure: Why not both? With the Classic (Game) Cocktail column, we'll offer weekly recommendations on cocktail recipes to accompany our most recent podcast episode.

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

Classic (Game) Cocktail 11: The Xenogears

This week's big game release — and really, the last major tentpole title for 2017, if I'm not mistaken — will be Monolith and Nintendo's Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for Switch. While Xenoblade isn't directly connected to director Tetsuya Takahashi's 1998 PS1 classic Xenogears, its name is a direct nod to its heritage… and, really, there's a fair amount in common between the two works. So in honor of Xenoblade's great-grandfather, here's a cocktail inspired by it.


  • 2 oz. Byrrh
  • 2 oz. Aperol
  • 1/2 oz. high-proof, bottled-in-bond rye whiskey (e.g. Rittenhouse)
  • 1 dash Peychaud's bitters
  • Club soda

The goal here was to create a cocktail that echoed the red of the X in Xenogears' logo… and also consisted primarily of somewhat esoteric ingredients. You know, for authenticity.


  1. Combine ingredients over ice in a shaker or mixing glass.
  2. Shake until chilled and blended.
  3. Strain into a highball glass over ice.
  4. Top with club soda to taste and stir briefly to blend soda and liquors.
  5. Squeeze a piece of orange peel over the drink and use as a garnish.

Etched slime glass is optional.

Flavorwise, this drink has a bitter edge that might remind you somewhat of a negroni, but the Byrrh helps balance it out with a tart sweetness. The whiskey and bitters bring a little complexity to ingredients that might be cloying on their own.

Some notes:

  • Everything in this cocktail can be arrived at, approximately, through more common elements. One of the defining traits of the Xeno games is that they always go about doing fairly normal things in a somewhat oblique fashion.
  • Don't have Aperol? Campari will work. Add a dash of orange juice to balance out the bitter grapefruit taste.
  • Byrrh isn't all that common in the U.S., but that's OK; it's basically a spiced red wine heavy on quinine. Use sweet vermouth instead (a standard vermouth brand like Martini & Rossi, not a high-end one like Carpano Antiqua) and replace the club soda with a 50/50 mix of club soda and tonic water.
  • Angostura bitters will do in place of Peychaud's.
  • And finally, if you don't keep rye on hand, you can use bourbon or a blended whiskey, I suppose.
  • Next time: Something thematically appropriate with which to kick off the Gintendo Final Fantasy 30th anniversary stream series, perhaps?