What Would Skywalker Drink? Star Wars-Themed Cocktails

We may have to wait until December for Episode Seven in the Star Wars series, but with the “official” Star Wars day upon us we thought we’d throw together a list of cocktails worthy of the Mos Eisley Cantina.

JAVA THE HUTT

drink-1

Maybe if Jabba the Hutt, the infamous gangster from the original Star Wars movies, actually drank caffeine he wouldn’t have had to employ Salacious Crumb (the little pet he kept on a leash) to keep his spirits up.

INGREDIENTS

-4 oz. Black Coffee

-1 shot coffee-flavored Tequila

-1 dash Chocolate Bitters

-½ shot Half-and-Half

INSTRUCTIONS

Stir with ice in a shaker and strain into a chilled glass. As Maxim says, serve it to your sleepiest friend.

JEDI MIND TRICK

Rumor had it that Absinthe could make you hallucinate (leading it to be illegal in the U.S., France and Switzerland until the early 1900s)-so what could be better than a cocktail that makes you feel like you can control things with your mind.

Try this take on the traditional “Death in the Afternoon,” and see how many times you can get Yoda to levitate.

INGREDIENTS

-3 oz absinthe

-0.5 cup to 0.75 cup champagne

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour absinthe into Champagne flute. Add Champagne until a milky cloud appears, then serve.

THE JEDI LIGHTSABER

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Blue Curacao gives this drink its green/blue color. If you want to make an Empire colored lightsaber substitute Red Apple Pucker.

INGREDIENTS

-4 oz. light Rum

-1 oz. Melon Flavored Liqueur (for green lightsaber) or Blue Curacao (for blue) or Red Apple Pucker (for red)

-1 oz. Pineapple Juice

-1 Shot Clear Soda (Sprite or 7up)

-Cherries or Pineapple for Garnish

-Blue or Red cocktail Sugar for the Rim

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix all ingredients except for the soda in a cocktail shaker and rim your martini glasses either blue or red sugar. Strain into martini glass and top with a splash of soda. Serve.

May the Fourth be With You….

Sunday Sip: Grilled Pineapple Margarita

Fruity, summery, and with just the slightly hint of char and smoke from the grill. You could do a lot worse in your search for a signature summer cocktail. But you can’t do much better.

Ingredients

  • 4.5 oz silver tequila
  • 12 oz homemade margarita mix
  • 3 oz orange liqueur
  • 2 Tbsp juices from grilled pineapple*
  • 1 1-inch thick slice of grilled fresh pineapple, plus more for garnish*
  • Crushed ice
  • Salt for rim (optional)
  • * The pineapple should be grilled and chilled so plan ahead. If you aren’t using a slice of leftover, already-chilled pineapple, give yourself an extra hour in prep time.

Instructions

  1. To grill a pineapple, remove the husk, slice into ~1-inch thick rings, and place on a preheated grill.
  2. Cook ~4-5 minutes each side until nicely caramelized.
  3. Transfer the pineapple (and all accumulated juices) to a bowl and place in the fridge until cold.
  4. Add the tequila, margarita mix, liqueur, the pineapple juice from the bowl, and a slice of grilled pineapple to a blender.
  5. Blend on high for ~1 minutes until smooth.
  6. (You can strain here if light pulp bothers you – I did not.)
  7. Pour over crushed ice and garnish with small chunks of grilled pineapple, if desired.

4 Kentucky Styled Derby Day Drinks

The Kentucky Derby—always celebrated on the first Saturday in May—might be the fastest two minutes in sports, but that doesn’t mean your revelry should end that soon. Feel like you’re in the crowd at Churchill Downs in Louisville by sipping on one of these revamped julep recipes from top mixologists across the country. Even if you aren’t donning a fierce fascinator during the Run for the Roses today, these refreshing cocktails are sure to make your soiree a winner.

The Mile High Julep

1 3/4 oz TINCUP American Whiskey
1/2 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
6 to 8 Mint Leaves

Combine all ingredients in a Julep tin, including hand-clapped mint. Add crushed ice and churn until mixed thoroughly and the outside of the tin has frosted. Garnish with a large mint sprig and some sugar sprinkled over the mint and the ice.

And for the bourbon averse, a refreshing rum julep.

Cruzan® Hats Off Julep

2 parts Cruzan® Estate Diamond® Dark Rum
1⁄2 part Turbinado Simple Syrup*
Pinch of Mint
3 Blackberries
Crushed Ice

Muddle Mint and Berries in a julep cup. Add Cruzan® Estate Diamond® Dark Rum and Turbinado Simple Syrup (recipe below) and fill with crushed ice. Take a hePy bouquet of Mint and rinse with water, then sprinkle Mint with powdered sugar for garnish with 3 speared Blackberries.

Turbinado Syrup

8 parts water
8 parts Turbinado Sugar

Combine 8 parts Hot Water and 8 parts Turbinado sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate. Will last for 30 days.

Silver Cup

1 3/4 oz TINCUP American Whiskey
1/2 oz Lustau Pedro Ximénez Sherry
1/4 oz Peach Street Distillers Peach Brandy
8 mint leaves

In a julep glass, muddle the mint leaves with the sherry, then add the rest of the spirits and pebble ice. Swizzle, then add more pebble ice (forming a mound) and three mint sprigs for garnish. Serve with a steel straw and a smile.

Try a bubbly take on the classic julep.

G.H.MUMM Mint Julep

2 parts G.H.MUMM Cordon Rouge
1 1/2 parts Absolut Citron Vodka
1 part Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 part Simple syrup
1 finger pinch Fresh mint

Pour all ingredients, except G.H. MUMM Cordon Rouge, into a mixing glass.
Add ice, cover and shake vigorously for 7-8 seconds.
Pour G.H. MUMM Cordon Rouge into a chilled cocktail-martini glass and pour the cocktail over it.

NOT YOUR FATHER’S ROOT BEER

Nothing made you feel like a grown-up as a kid more than drinking an ice cold root beer from the bottle. Somehow, though, root beer lost its appeal (likely around the age of 21). In fact, I can’t tell you the last time I had a root beer. But Illinois’s Small Town Brewery has set out to hit some nostalgic notes with one of their brews named Not Your Father’s Root Beer.

Not Your Father’s Root Beer is an ale brewed with a unique blend of spices that make it taste literally just like a root beer. No, this isn’t a new brew, but it is expanding into new markets soon. Interestingly enough, the regular plane ole’ Not Your Father’s Root Beer has a normal 5.9% ABV, but there are two other editions that are quite a bit higher at 10.7% and even a 19.5% ABV. Between Goose Island, Revolution and Small Town Brewery, Illinois has some of the best breweries in the country.

National Beer Day… The History of Beer

Beer brewing and drinking are activities that have been part of the human experience seemingly since the dawn of civilization. Around 10,000 years ago, mankind began to move away from living life as nomadic hunter gatherers, and began settling down in one spot to farm the land. Grain, a vital ingredient in beer making, was cultivated by these new agricultural societies.

No one is exactly sure how the process of beer making was discovered or who first discovered it, but it is thought that some bread or grain got wet, fermenting into an inebriating pile of mush thanks to yeast in the air. One has to wonder at the thought process of the person tasting the result for the first time – perhaps it was a dare between Mesopotamian frat boys… or more likely it was simply that up until very recently, no one would have dreamed of wasting any food, even putrid mush. If there was a way to make it palatable and it didn’t kill you, people would do it to avoid waste.

What we do know is that the oldest written documentation pertaining to beer making can be traced back at least six thousand years, to the ancient civilization of Sumeria. A hymn, entitled “Hymn to Ninkasi,” which includes (translated):

Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat
It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates.

The beverage made ancient Sumerians feel “exhilarated, wonderful and blissful”- it’s no wonder that beer was considered to be a gift form the gods.

Back then, the beer wasn’t well filtered, giving it a cloudy appearance due to the residue it contained. To try to avoid the horribly bitter solids, Sumerians would drink their beer through a straw. The ghastly bitterness did nothing to stem the popularity of beer. The Ancient Babylonians, the descendants of the Sumerian people, were brewing at least 20 different varieties of beer by 2000 B.C. All citizens were entitled to a daily beer ration, calculated by the person’s social standing. Beer was such a vital part of these ancient economies that it was even used to barter, and a portion of worker’s wages were paid in beer, efficiently eliminating the need for a middle man.

The Egyptians carried on the beer brewing tradition, altering the taste with the addition of dates. The Greeks and Romans also made beer, but as wine grew in popularity the Romans began to consider beer the drink of Barbarians. As wine was considered ambrosia gifted to man directly from the god Bacchus, beer never really stood a chance in the area. Soon, beer was only commonly seen on the very edges of the Roman Empire – places where it was next to impossible to either cultivate or import wine.

Beer is known to have been brewed by certain Germanic groups as early as 800 B.C., and the ancient historian Tacitus reported that

To drink, the Teutons have a horrible brew fermented from barley or wheat, a brew which has only a very far removed similarity to wine.

Much later, the Catholic Church also got involved in beer making, and the abbeys were instrumental in refining the methods used for brewing. In time, many religious communities owed their very existence to beer, as the profits from its sale kept many a monastery in the black. Charlemagne himself was thought to have even trained a few people in the brewing of beer and considered it to be an important staple item. Much like their forebears, Christians at this point also felt that beer was a gift from God, which is an idea only very recently changed thanks to rampant alcoholism in the late 19th century particularly.

Beer was not only prized for its ability to intoxicate, which was a small comfort not to be underestimated considering the tough times your average person in medieval Europe would encounter as a matter of course, but just as importantly, during the Middle Ages, and even beyond, drinking beer was a much safer proposition than drinking water. The water supply of the time was rife with disease-causing bacteria thanks to extremely poor sanitation. Besides the alcohol content, beer also went through a “cooking” process, which greatly aided in eliminating any nasty stuff in the brew. As a result, beer was consumed by people of all ages and classes, and along with bread, was a staple of most people’s daily diets for centuries.

Back in Germany, after hops had been introduced (as early as the 9th century in some areas, slowly spreading from there over the next few centuries), brewers came up with a set of standards for German beer and began commonly mass-brewing it, rather than as many did at the time- home-brewing. These mass production methods and guidelines quickly spread throughout Europe.

When you’re not making it yourself at home, you might question what’s in your beer. As a result of this, German brewers came up with the Beer Purity Law, or the Reinheitsgebot, which was devised in 1516. This purity pledge, the first of its kind for beer, guaranteed the medieval beer drinker a certain level of quality when drinking a German brew. The pledge also indicated that all German beer must consist of only a few base ingredients: water, hops, malted barley and malted wheat, along with yeast.

The 1800s bought significant advancement in the art of beer brewing, including Louis Pasteur’s discovery of yeast’s role in the fermentation process, and the invention of pasteurization. The advent of automatic bottling, commercial refrigeration and the rise of the railroads made mass production and distribution possible across huge, sparsely populated areas like the United States. By 1880, there were an estimated 3200 breweries in operation across the U.S.

Then came very dark days for American beer drinkers, and all who enjoyed alcohol in any form. As a response to rampant alcohol abuse that was blamed for most of the problems in the U.S. (sometimes fairly, often not), the 18th Amendment ushered in the era of Prohibition, turning average citizens who decided to brew at home into common criminals.

Prohibition involving beer came to an end in 1933, but not before such atrocious acts as the U.S. government intentionally poisoning certain alcohol supplies that they knew people would drink- killing at least 10,000 American citizens. As a response to this, certain members of congress advocated increasing the program to eliminate more of those choosing to drink, seen as undesirables in a civilized nation. (Eugenics was a popular idea at this time throughout much of the developed world; this would change thanks to the Nazis and WWII: See The Fascinating History of Eugenics) By 1935, a mere five decades after the U.S. had boasted over three thousand breweries, only about 160 breweries were still in operation.

During World War II, food shortages led to the brewing of a lighter beer, which was supposedly more appealing to the Rosie the Riveters than the heartier beers favored by the men off fighting the war. When the war ended, both kinds of beer remained popular, and the surviving breweries were quick to exploit this new market.

Today’s beer drinker is most undoubtedly spoiled for choice, with almost limitless options when it comes to what kind of beer they prefer. Beer connoisseurs also have the ability to create and brew high quality beer of their own at home easy enough, creating truly custom brews perfectly aligned with the brewer’s preference and taste. The resurgence in home brewing had led to a Renaissance of sorts in beer making, improving the quality of the finished product while also remaining true to the original methods of beer brewing. This also brings those beer drinkers full circle- going back to the earliest of days of beer making, when most made it themselves at home.

Signs That You’re Actually in a Relationship With Coffee

1. Your idea of a perfect date is just you, a cup of coffee (with a full pot on standby), and a good book.

2. It’s the first thing you think about every morning. The only thing that convinces you to get out of bed is the beautiful coffee aroma that wafts into your room every morning. You would take that smell over sweet nothings whispered in your ear any day of the week.

3. You think it’s beautiful at all hours of the day, no matter what it looks like. Hot, iced, latte, black, any form it chooses to take, you love it just as it is.

4. If you ever had to choose between the boyfriend/girlfriend and coffee, you would choose the coffee. A life without coffee is no life at all.

5. You spend all of your extra money on it. Oh my gosh, this mug would look great around my Morning Joe. I should really upgrade my grinder to make sure my coffee is getting the absolute best treatment…

6. You can’t imagine a future without it. It’s always been there for you; it will always be there for you. Your life will always include coffee. Always.

7. It’s constantly on your mind. Constantly. Where’s the closest coffee shop? Do I have time to go grab a cup? What kind should I get? Oh god, I miss it…

8. You only want to go places if you know coffee will be there. Every event invitation you get is immediately followed by the question, “But will they be serving coffee as well?”

9. It’s always your first priority. If you’ve got a to-do list that includes: grab a cup of coffee, pick Mom up from the airport, and save a cat from a tree, you’re grabbing that cup of coffee first.

10. You ache when you’re apart for too long…. Ok, so this might just be a sign of addiction withdrawal. But really, when you’re crazy about someone, don’t you kind of feel addicted to their presence? I’m counting it. It’s not a problem.

11. Ninety-percent of your Instagram includes pictures of you with your coffee.

12. You feel more comfortable when it’s around. There’s just something about walking around with a mug full of coffee that just puts you at ease. You can talk with people without having to worry about what you’re doing with your hands; it’s great!

13. It’s one of the few things that’s guaranteed to cheer you up on a bad day. It gives you that welcome kick to get through every other obstacle in your day, and no matter how poorly the day’s been going, it’s impossible for you to feel sad when you’re sipping on pure happiness.

14. When you clicked on this article, you took a moment to gaze at the coffee picture, and thought, God damn, that’s beautiful. I should go get some coffee.

Thirsty Thursday… Watermelon Beer

We know it’s not technically watermelon season yet, but the watermelon in the store looked so good it was hard to pass up. We got a quarter of a watermelon and trekked over to the beer section to find the perfect one to go with the watermelon; enter Shock Top Wheat Beer. Both the watermelon and the beer complement each other really well, and one doesn’t outshine the other. This is the perfect drink for a hot day after work when you just need a drink (or two) to unwind.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 watermelon, cut up into chunks
  • 2-4 White Beers or Wheat Beers, we used Shock Top

Instructions:

  1. Place the watermelon chunks in your blender. Puree until smooth, then pour into a sifter over a bowl. Strain until only the juice is left and there is no pulp -chill for at least an hour. Fill a glass with the beer and pour the watermelon juice on top. Serve immediately.