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Entries in cocktails (1)

Sunday
Feb102013

Cocktails in the Cantina: Star Wars drinks and music for my book launch

Worst Slave Leia costume ever...but not a bad albumMy friend Claire is determined to hold a book launch for A Long Time Ago, even if it did come out last August. It will be Saturday 9 March on Kits Point, Vancouver. If you're in town and would like to come, let me know.

Claire went looking for Star-Wars-themed cocktails to serve at the party. I don't know why I was surprised, but it turns out there are various Star Wars cocktail recipes floating around the internet.

The most common seems to be this one, for a drink simply called Star Wars:

Star Wars

1 oz Southern Comfort® peach liqueur

1 oz amaretto almond liqueur

1 oz sweet and sour mix

1 oz Sprite

Mix all ingredients, and serve in an old-fashioned glass with ice.

But it wouldn't be Star Wars if it wasn't attended by some controversy, and so another web site (A History of Drinking) offers this rather more interesting recipe for a drink of the same name:

Star Wars

  • 3/4 oz Vodka
  • 3/4 oz Southern Comfort
  • 3/4 oz Orange Liqueur
  • 4 oz Orange Juice
  • dash of Grenadine

Glass: Collins

Garnish: Orange Slice

Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish.

A History of Drinking also offers this well-named tipple:

Jedi Mind Trick

  • 1 oz. Cinnamon Schnapps
  • 1 oz. Irish Cream
  • 1 oz. Melon liqueur
  • 1 splash 151 Rum

Glass: Low-ball

Garnish: None

Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks or low-ball glass. Top with a float of rum.

Also of interest is Castles and Cooks' recipe for the Tatoine stand-by, Blue Milk:

Blue Milk

Makes 2 servings 

Ingredients
3 ounces of milk
1 ounce of cream
1 ounce of coconut rum
1 ounce of amaretto
2 ounces of blue curacao

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake for 20-30 seconds until chilled. Serve in a chilled glass. It tastes like a creamsicle! The almond and coconut flavors help reduce the orange flavor and create a sweeter drink that is a lovely shade of blue.

Only a day after Claire showed me these (and other) cocktail recipes, my sister lent me her copy of Cocktails in the Cantina, a gloriously unlicensed, unofficial recording of familiar John Wiliams Star Wars themes played in lounge style. Here's what one Amazon customer had to say:

Before John Williams moved to California and became a hugely famous composer of film scores, he gigged in numerous New York jazz clubs, performed on Henry Mancinni's recording of the Peter Gunn theme, and served as band leader and arranger for crooner Frankie Laine.

He was known then as "Johnny" Williams.

And it's to Johnny and this era that Carvin Knowles and the Evil Genius Orchestra dedicate this album of Star Wars covers, Cocktails in the Cantina, clever arrangements for big band orchestra circa the late 50's in styles ranging from jazz and mambo to bossa nova performed by some of southern California's best studio musicians.

Knowles is himself a resident of Los Angles and composer for film, the most well known of his projects being music for the adolescent comedy, American Pie. Apparently rich in curiosity and all things musical, he has composed, produced and arranged in a number of genres, from big band to jazz to blues, from funk to club. His most recent project is a world beat recording called Hamsa.

Despite the obvious appearance, Cocktails in the Cantina is not a commercial knock-off, but a project that shows some musical wit. The Imperial March starts off with pounding tympanis followed by tenor sax and trombones playing the theme down low, with the trumpets coming in a bar later on the high end in a hilarious mambo swing. The well-worn Cantina Band number is slowed down to about half the original speed, a hypnotic lullaby led by xylophone and joined by a torpid tenor sax and scatting chorus. The hipster main title features a rhythm section of snapping fingers over which a muted trumpet plays the theme, accented by a number of sound effects, including mouth harp and what sounds like a theremin (though that instrument is not listed in the credits). Princess Leia's Theme is given a bossa nova shuffle, with flute playing the melody over acoustic guitar chords accented with xylophone fills, and The Throne Room climax is played like a Peter Gun theme, with trumpets calling out the fanfare, and then playing the lead melody over B3 organ and a swinging drum kit.

Simply put, this album is a lot of fun. If you're a purist look for symphonic renditions of the Star Wars score, you'd be better off sticking to the original recordings. But for those who enjoy a bit of the unexpected in their music, this album will not disappoint.

I can't endorse it as knowlegeably as that, but I do like it. Go listen to some samples on Amazon.