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It has been more than 40 years since the world first laid eyes on Luke, Leia, Solo, Chewie and their merry droid friends. (OK, maybe C3PO is a bit more maudlin than merry, but can you blame his fretful nature with so much unrest in the galaxy?) And it appears our fascination with them, and every teased out branch of the "Star Wars" franchise since, hasn’t waned since the release of the first film back in 1977.
While you probably wouldn’t be super stoked at the quality of drinks served up at Chalmun’s Cantina in Mos Eisley on planet Tatooine, we've found a bounty hunter’s breadth of Jedi-worthy drinks to keep your spirited adventures from dipping into the Dark Side. Bonus: Lightsabers make excellent bar spoons.
Bryan Gall of Portland, Ore.’s Bacchus Bar at Kimpton Hotel Vintage uses a bright bunch of smashed basil to give this Yoda-inspired drink its requisite gasp of green, a hue reminiscent of the Jedi master’s lovely skin tone. Sage simple syrup is a natural nod to Yoda’s wisdom, and a couple of those leaves make a nice, perky Yoda ear garnish too.
A well-made cocktail can take you from cranky to calm in a sip. This drink created by the talented Timothy Minor of Brooklyn, N.Y.’s beloved Long Island Bar promises to do such things, even if you’re feeling as rattled as a gnarly-toothed rancor. Minor actually created the cocktail as a nod to his brother-in-law, who’s fond of giving family members disposition-appropriate “Star Wars” nicknames. “My brother-in-law Joey Carnevale is called The Rancor because he can be, well, unpredictable. He’s also particularly fond of a well-mixed bourbon cocktail.”
What could melt the slick, seemingly frosty demeanor of a stoic storm trooper? Well, for starters, Ryan Morris, the general manager of Venkman’s in Atlanta, thinks one must start with rum. Of course! Sometimes, when the weather calls for it in the balmy South, he likes to run this tropically tweaked tipple through a slushy machine. But you can shake it, too.
Life may be all sunshine and Disney magic in Orlando, Fla., but at Taverna Opa, bartender Alex Attart likes to take a walk on the dark side of life. Here, his homage to the imperial superweapon skews the color of Darth Vader’s cape with good use of Jägermeister digestif and Coca-Cola. He also makes a nifty little ice orb replica of the Death Star for extra empirical effect—but regular cubes will do just fine.
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Bartender Chris Cheng of Westroot Tavern in San Diego professes a distaste for puns but couldn’t resist employing one for this decadent drink made with horchata vodka and cold-brew coffee. And as his city is home to an installment of the world’s biggest fantasy fest, Comic-Con, it’s fitting that he’s ready to whip out a few George Lucas-loving cocktails faster than a nimble little Grand Master Yoda employs a lightsaber.
This warm, spicy drink from Brendan Costello at Burke’s Public House in Chicago is delicious enough to make even Grand Moff Tarkin grin with giddy pleasure. Plus, for the shaker-challenged, it’s pretty simple to whip up. “It’s so easy to make, you’re basically using the Force to do it for you,” says Costello.
Black as Vader’s cape, this nod to the seduction of evil by NOLA bartender Christian Villalta is apropos. Drinking this opaque beauty is an irresistible force itself, after all. Its up-the-ante ingredients make it perfect for both the incurable cocktail geek and “Star Wars” nerds everywhere. (It requires making your own black-sesame orgeat.)
Billy Atchison, the co-founder of Banjo Cold Brew Coffee in Atlanta, is a Jedi junkie. So much so that he created this cocktail in honor of the respected and unconventional, if thoroughly paranoid, Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn. “Sweetened cold-brew coffee gives it enough edge to win at any pod race,” says Atchison. “And the smooth gin plus lemon ensures that any Jedi could keep his cool when negotiations seem to be failing.”
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The bartenders in the tasting room at the Bendistillery in Bend, Ore., are a band of “Star Wars”-loving devotees. This simple but potent whiskey-centric sipper pays tribute to the fiery temperament of Kylo Ren and his take-no-prisoners style of sabering, with the drink's ample use of spicy rye and lime juice.
Louis Hirsch, the general manager of Morels Steakhouse & Bistro at The Palazzo in Las Vegas, created this nod to reluctant rebel pilot and all-around intergalactic heartthrob Han Solo because only a person with his confidence could find a positive use for that pink-headed stepchild of the wine world, white zinfandel. Although, perhaps, judging by actor Harrison Ford’s near-wreck piloting of a plane, he might want to take on a co-pilot from now on. We hear Chewbacca is looking for work.
At The Sixth in Chicago’s Lincoln Square, beverage director Benjamin Schiller couldn’t resist making a molded pate de fruit head garnish of Darth Vader (basically a room-stable gummy bear) for this cheerful tropical drink, served in a Boba Fett Tiki glass, of course. But even if you don’t want to go that deep into Empire kitsch, this drink, named for the sand-dwelling, flesh-eating fave of Jabba the Hutt, is pretty easy to make then throw down in a few delicious sips. Bonus: The Han’s mix is really a tweaked version of famed Tiki maestro Donn Beach’s Don’s Mix.
Thoroughly testing the depth of "Star Wars" nerdiness, Billy Nichols, the bar manager at Faun in Brooklyn, N.Y., named this galactically green-hued concoction after the species of rebel spies who provided the Rebellion with the plans to blow up the Death Star in "Return of the Jedi." “I’m a 'Star Wars' nerd,” says Nichols. “I thought this green, cloudy tequila cocktail looked the part.”
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One part inspiration from a Blood & Sand, one part terrarium, this cocktail from Sol Trece is a terrestrial textural treat from La Cuevita in the Highland Park neighborhood of L.A. “We wanted a cocktail that if you were looking through a telescope from another planet, you would see sand and living creatures,” says Trece. “We added turmeric for sand color and texture, and chia seeds for the ‘creatures’ effect.’”
The folks at Datz in Tampa, Fla., like to have fun with their food and drink, be it with candy in the cocktails or nods to pop culture icons. This homage to that tiny little pointy-eared bundle of wisdom, Yoda, by bar manager Morgan Zuch manages to make wayward whimsy taste pretty great.