The Expanse Cocktails Project

Expanse Cocktail #AF-5
Julie's Pet Robot Hamster

Only one thing disturbs the stillness of Julie Mao’s hole when Miller comes to investigate: Julie’s pet hamster, one of the countless robot pets that keep lonely people company on Ceres. But Julie’s harbors a special secret: the data chip containing a pirated Protogen recording. This, however, makes it no less cute.

This drink took a whole lot of thought. What does that Robot Hamster represent, and how does that symbolism look and taste? We decided to look at the robot hamster in its two roles: As a cheap, decorative robot companion and as a repository for secret data.

First, we know that they sell more robot hamsters in the tacky, string-lights-filled shop Miller visits when investigating. They’re the kind of cheap, easy, cute decoration anyone on Ceres might buy for their first apartment away from home. Decor and a little companionship.

We started thinking about the drinks someone might drink in their first apartment, alone, conflicted, and away from their family. Easy, tasty things, that can be made strong or light. Idea: The Screwdriver, a mix of OJ and vodka known to broke students everywhere!

To the basic Screwdriver (with fresh OJ, natch), we added a rum float. Rum is often connected to the Belt and the OPA in our drinks, because of its great diversity of varieties and flavors (like the Belt), and its cultural connections to colonialism, adventure, and the open sea.

The word for liquor or alcohol in Lang Belta is “rowm”, suggesting that rum is a central or primary liquor in the Belt. Plus, OPA big-shot Anderson Dawes orders “dark rum” at a bar in one of his earliest appearances, strengthening that connection.

At this point, we’d worked with The Robot Hamster as part of Julie’s lonely, spare Ceres hole, rented for her new life as an OPA operative. The Robot Hamster’s second function was as a secret stash for very dangerous Protogen data. We wanted something in the drink to be hidden or not as it seemed.

So we dropped a cherry to the bottom (you can see its reflection in the base of the glass, glowing like The Robot Hamster’s creepy red eyes!) and swirled some bitters over the top, further obscuring what’s beneath. The final drink is supremely yummy and drinkable, but potentially dangerous!


  • 3 ounces fresh orange juice, strained
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce spiced rum
  • 3-4 drops Peychaud's bitters


Pour vodka and orange Juice into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled coupe, and drop in a secret brandied cherry (data chip optional). Pouring over the back of a spoon, float the rum on top. Swirl drops of bitters on top of the rum. Drink in your tiny apartment, when you think you’re alone.