Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What Pauley Perrette Was Actually Drinking For Energy On NCIS

Whether or not she's your favorite NCIS character, it's hard to deny that forensic scientist Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) is one of the most recognizable figures from the show. Her goth-inspired wardrobe and effervescent personality set her apart from her more buttoned-up colleagues. She's also known to roam her lab clutching a gigantic cup of her beverage of choice, Caf-Pow.

The fictional energy drink originated from the creative team's desire to show where some of Abby's bubbly personality comes from. While speaking at the 3rd Annual NCIS Fan Fest in 2008, NCIS' lead graphic artist Doug S. Reilly said that Caf-Pow was created because "they wanted Abby to have some sort of caffeine...that she's fueled by."

After determining that having her popping caffeine pills might not play well, it was decided that she would be constantly sipping an energy drink. And thus, Caf-Pow was born. Throughout her 15 seasons on the series, Abby can frequently be seen working her way through Big Gulp size containers of the stuff.

Typically during a film or TV production, when an actor is meant to be drinking alcohol, a substitute liquid will be used (although, that's not always the case). The same is true for Caf-Pow. Instead of sipping on a 64 oz energy drink, when Perrette was filming with her signature beverage, she was actually drinking a very particular, and very intense, type of fruit juice.

The "hardcore" Caf-Pow substitute Pauley Perrette used while filming NCIS

During an on-set interview with CBS' The Early Show, Perrette was asked about what's really in her Caf-Pow cups. She revealed that the ubiquitous red and white vessels used to have non-caffeinated, but still delicious, Hawaiian Punch in them. That all changed when Perrette "quit eating and drinking refined sugar." From that point on, the cup was filled with unsweetened cranberry juice.

Although it doesn't have a caffeinated kick, those who have ever sipped on some unaltered cranberry juice know that it will give you a jolt all its own. The juice is almost unbearably tart, and even Perrette herself said of her Caf-Pow substitute of choice, "It's hardcore."

Sean Murray, who plays Abby's one-time office crush Tim McGee, was also present for the interview and he agreed with his co-star's assessment. He even admitted, "I took a swig of that one time..." When he demonstrated the painfully pinched face he made in reaction to the ultra-tart liquid, it was clear that one sip was enough for Murray. 

Perrette may not have been riding high on caffeine while she filmed NCIS, but she was certainly still getting a kick from her Caf-Pow cup.