Inspiring mocktail menu served up by Space Juice winners

Science & Exploration


An impressive 70 mocktail recipes representing a wide range of flavours of ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (Juice) mission were submitted to the Agency’s #SpaceJuice competition  in January.

From inventive juices to layered smoothies, swirling coffees and iced teas, the judges were wowed by the energy and effort that went into the creations. The video productions and photos documenting the making of the drinks, supplementary recipe cards, and even a musical composition to accompany one entry also impressed the judges, as did extraordinary finishing touches such as a set of homemade crocheted coasters and spacecraft.

“What stood out is how all entrants cleverly linked their ingredients to the themes of ESA’s Juice mission to come up with so many different drink recipes,” commented Olivier Witasse, ESA’s Juice project scientist. “With their buried oceans and tantalising potential for life, Jupiter’s icy moons Ganymede, Callisto and Europa are clearly at the heart of many recipes. These moons are central to our Juice mission, symbolising human fascination in understanding if life could ever have existed elsewhere in the Solar System beyond Earth.”

While Juice isn’t equipped to detect life itself, it will find out if the necessary ingredients (water, biologically essential elements, energy and stability) to sustain life are present. In the Space Juice contest this translated into many patient hands recreating the moons’ internal structure with layers of frozen fruits, ice and yoghurts, sparkling oceans and icy shells. Jupiter and its churning, cloudy atmosphere was also uniquely captured in colour-changing drinks and with back-lighting to create special presentation effects.

Space Juice contest winners

“The tropical location of Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, from where Juice will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket in April, was also well expressed in the ingredients and flavours of the drinks,” says Juice engineer Maneula Baroni who is currently working at the Spaceport to prepare the Juice spacecraft for launch. “I particularly loved the ingenious use of cayenne pepper in one recipe to represent Cayenne (the capital city of French Guiana) and the hard work of the launch team and engineers at Europe’s Spaceport – much appreciated!”

After rating all drinks for how the mission was represented, along with their overall appearance and appeal, a short-list made it to the taste-test round. With a view to mass producing the winning recipe at ESA launch party events, the ease of sourcing ingredients (or suitable substitutes) and the simplicity of preparation played an important role in the final decision-making process.

Space Juice first place winner

The overall winning mocktail recipe by Margherita Gagnoni was inspired by Europa’s geology. It combines European and tropical flavours with a sparkling blue ocean of spirulina, an ancient algae that represents possible life conditions in the icy moon.

The judges were also extremely impressed with two additional drinks that were nominated as second and third place winners.

Saskia Seemann’s simple yet extremely striking combination of lavender syrup, tonic, crushed ice and a candy floss garnish captured the spirit of Juice’s mission to explore the icy moons’ oceans and Jupiter in one drink – the candy floss playfully representing Jupiter’s cloudy atmosphere.

Space Juice second place winner

Barbara Grandeclaude’s mocktail with flair reproduced Juice’s journey in the creative preparation of the drink. Starting with filling the launcher’s fuel tanks, we depart Earth and are guided through planetary flybys during the eight-year cruise to Jupiter, culminating in the arrival at Jupiter and its icy moons.

Seven additional runners up were also nominated to receive Juice mission goodies; the complete top ten is represented in this collage. Click the image to expand for links to each recipe.

A special mention in our runners up shortlist goes to smoothie-maker Eleni Koutsiona who used fruit quantities in a 1:2:4 ratio to represent the orbital resonance of the moons between Ganymede, Europa, and Io, and prepared waffle-cut spacecraft solar arrays.

Space Juice third place winner

A family entry submitted by Daniela Homolka complete with hand drawings by Elfie (age 7) and Trudi (age 11) also won a place in our top ten with their colourful and tasty juice mix and chocolate truffle garnish.

Although not making it to the final ten, the Juice communications team wanted to give a special mention to the entrant who included a tribute to ESA’s social media efforts in their very tasty looking frozen mocktail which includes “…a splash of lime for the fresh feel of the social media approach on the launch.” 🙂

In addition to Juice project and communications team members, ESA also invited independent astrophysicist, science communicator and cosmic cocktail and mocktail making aficionado Alfredo Carpineti to review our shortlist: “I was so impressed with how everyone found such creative and delicious ways to represent ESA’s Juice mission. Everyone should feel very proud. I look forward to drinking Margherita’s mocktail in a few weeks as we see this incredible spacecraft begin its journey to Jupiter.”

Alfredo and Margherita will participate in our special ‘Space Juice Happy Hour’ on launch day at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, from where Juice will be operated throughout its mission.

All 70 recipes submitted to the contest will be collated into a souvenir digital recipe book, to be released closer to Juice’s launch date, currently scheduled for 13 April.

Thank you to all entrants!

About Juice

ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, Juice, is humankind’s next bold mission to the outer Solar System. It will make detailed observations of gas giant Jupiter and its three large ocean-bearing moons – Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. This ambitious mission will characterise these moons with a powerful suite of remote sensing, geophysical and in situ instruments to discover more about these compelling destinations as potential habitats for past or present life. Juice will monitor Jupiter’s complex magnetic, radiation and plasma environment in depth and its interplay with the moons, studying the Jupiter system as an archetype for gas giant systems across the Universe.  

Juice launches on an Ariane 5 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou in April 2023. It has an eight year cruise with flybys of Earth and Venus to slingshot it to Jupiter. It will make 35 flybys of the three large moons while orbiting Jupiter, before changing orbits to Ganymede.
Juice is a mission under ESA leadership with contributions from NASA, JAXA and the Israel Space Agency. It is the first Large-class mission in ESA’s Cosmic Vision programme.

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