Conversation at the bar led to space travel, and whether each of us would commit to the journey to Mars. It came up that instead of going to the bar, you would need to brew your own beer.

This led to the question:

Has alcohol ever been consumed in space?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ We reside within space, so yes. I assume you mean outer space. I know it's splitting hairs but this one grinds my gears. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 10:21
  • 17
    $\begingroup$ @RobbyReindeer you're right, I agree. Although, generally, readers of StackExchange are humans, and humans have brain features that allow them to understand meaning from context. For instance, alcohol here refers to beverages containing ethanol, although it's not clearly specified. $\endgroup$
    – magma
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 13:16
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @RobbyReindeer Can you specify which particular gears this grinds? I suppose a split hair could grind a small gear, but I don't know how a word usage issue would do it, and I'm looking to learn. $\endgroup$
    – Geobits
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 18:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Geobits: It's a figure of speech. "grind one's gears - 1. (informal) To annoy or irritate one." $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ Fruit juice and soft drinks have a certain amount of alcohol from natural processes, under 0.5% and you can't get drunk from them. I know that's not really what the OP was asking, but that's still there. $\endgroup$
    – Greg
    Commented Jan 25, 2020 at 23:03

6 Answers 6


Brandy was sent along with Apollo 8’s Christmas dinner -- a 2-oz airline bottle each -- but mission commander Borman, out of an abundance of caution, ordered his crew not to partake. Jim Lovell sold his Apollo 8 brandy ration at auction ten years ago.

Buzz Aldrin took a sip of wine for communion on the surface of the moon during Apollo 11.

Russian crews on Mir and ISS have definitely partaken of vodka.


I asked Oleg Kotov this exact question.

He told me that alcohol went missing from some medical kit on the ISS and was most certainly consumed in space.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Why is the hat a thing? It's green... (if you know what I mean) $\endgroup$
    – not_Prince
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 8:42
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @BoostedNub The hat is because of Ted... $\endgroup$
    – smcs
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 9:37
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @BoostedNub Because it's hat season, of course! $\endgroup$
    – brichins
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 20:49
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Is there any sort of recorded/written source where you asked this/he responded/ $\endgroup$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 23:33

During the Salyut 1 mission, the birthday of one of the cosmonauts was celebrated with a very small amount of alcohol, as far as I have read.

Supporting reference:

The first alcoholic drink went to space in 1971, destined for the Salyut-7 [presumably a typo, as the Salyut actually in orbit at the time was Salyut 1; Salyut 7 didn't fly until 1982] orbital station. One of the cosmonaut's birthday [sic] occurred while he was in orbit, and friends gave a present before launch: they hid a bottle of Armenian cognac in the wristband used for measuring blood pressure.

The cosmonaut in question was presumably Viktor Patsayev, who turned 38 on board Salyut 1 (Soyuz 11, the only mission to successfully harddock with Salyut 1 and have crew enter the station, docked with Salyut 1 on 7 June 1971 and undocked on 29 June; Patsayev's birthday was on 19 June).

This source (in Russian) claims that Lev Denisov revealed that ground workers did hide the bottle of cognac, for Patsayev's birthday celebration:

Рабочие, готовившие корабль «Союз-11» к старту и устанавливающие на него «научную аппаратуру», рассказали Денисову, что во время полёта на орбиту у одного из членов экипажа, Виктора Пацаева, будет день рождения, и предложили сделать ему подарок в виде бутылки армянского коньяка. Они даже выбрали на борту место для тайника, спрятав бутылку за манжетами для измерения кровяного давления. Денисов согласился и лично проконтролировал, чтобы никто из инспекторов не нашёл заначку. Космонавтам сообщили о бутылке, уже когда те были на орбите.


The workers, preparing the Soyuz-11 spacecraft for launch and installing “scientific equipment” on it, told Denisov that one of the crew members, Viktor Patsayev, would have a birthday during an orbit, and offered to give him a gift in the form of a bottle of Armenian cognac. They even chose a hiding place on board, hiding the bottle behind the cuffs for measuring blood pressure. Denisov agreed and personally controlled so that none of the inspectors found a stash. The astronauts were informed about the bottle when they were in orbit.


I also hear from someone close to an Astronaut that they manage to sneak alcohol into their personal belongings and smuggle it into space.

Additional Reference: https://www.rbth.com/science_and_tech/2017/04/12/space-smugglers-how-russian-cosmonauts-sneak-booze-into-outer-space_740566


One of the stories goes that small amounts of alcohol was hidden in the Russian space ship. During periods of conflicts between astronauts, command center would assign the crew members to the task that would inevitably lead to the discovery of that alcohol.

P.S. Do cosmonauts drink alcohol in orbit?

At the Salyut-7 station there were dozens of hiding places with tubes filled with long-term aged cognac. Thanks to the engineers and workers who prepared the station on the factory floor. As well as the personnel of the MCC, who during the communication sessions told the cosmonauts in which unit it was necessary to conduct an unscheduled check of the equipment. There they were waiting for pleasant surprises.

На станции «Салют-7» были десятки тайников с тюбиками, наполненными коньяком многолетней выдержки. Спасибо инженерам и рабочим, готовившим станцию в заводских цехах. А также персоналу ЦУП, который во время сеансов связи подсказывал космонавтам, в каком блоке надо провести внеплановую проверку аппаратуры. Там-то их и ждали приятные сюрпризы.


Roscosmos news page from 2009 quotes Alexander Agureev (Александр Агуреев), the head of food/nutrition department of Institute of Biomedical Problems RAS (IBMP) .

According to his words, unlike on ISS at the time (2009), in the earlier days on "Mir" space station alcohol tincture was served, apparently, for medical purposes:

“No alcohol-containing substances are supplied to the ISS - even in wet wipes designed to wipe the body, face and hands, other components are now used. Whilst on the Russian "Mir" [space] station cosmonauts officially took alcohol tincture from the roots of Eleutherococcus, properties of which are close to [those of] ginseng, [in order] to increase [muscle] tone and immunity, now special stimulating preparations are present [for the same purpose] in the medical sets of the cosmonauts", - he said.

Below is original text in Russian:

"Никаких спиртосодержащих веществ на МКС не поставляется - даже во влажных салфетках, предназначенных для протирки тела, лица и рук, сейчас применяются другие компоненты. Если на российской станции "Мир" для повышения тонуса и иммунитета космонавты официально принимали спиртовую настойку из корней элеутерококка, который по свойствам близок к женьшеню, то сейчас в медицинских укладках космонавтов появились специальные стимулирующие препараты", - рассказал он.

Emphasis added.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.