Movie News & Reviews

Howling Wookiee. Java the Hutt. May ‘Star Wars’ drinks be with you

Gazebo Gardens owner Scott Miller makes a “Star Wars”-themed drink Howling Wookiee, a hard root beer mixed with Underberg bitters.
Gazebo Gardens owner Scott Miller makes a “Star Wars”-themed drink Howling Wookiee, a hard root beer mixed with Underberg bitters.

Aaron Gossett, a longtime “Star Wars” fan and general manager at Eureka Fresno, didn’t hesitate when asked to create a drink to celebrate the release of “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.”

Gossett has been to every “Star Wars” movie premiere, starting in 1977 when he was just 2 years old. His favorite character: Boba Fett, the feared galatic bounty hunter.

“Yeah, I guess you can say I’m kind of into it,” Gossett says.

So it wasn’t hard for Gossett and other “Star Wars” fans to concoct craft cocktails and beer drinks to toast the movie’s release on Friday.

Half the fun was thinking of names for the drinks. The staff at Eureka, 7775 N. Palm Ave., came up with Darth Maultini, Darth Vaderaide, Java the Hutt and R2 Drink2.

Gossett settled on adding the Darth Vaderaide and Java the Hutt to the restaurant’s roster of specialty drinks. Smooth tasting and coffee colored, the Java has the potential to launch you into hyper drive. The drink is fueled by a hearty coffee porter, a smoky whiskey and chocolate bitters.

The Darth Vaderaide may lead you to the “dark side” if you have one too many. The candy apple red drink tastes like a cross between a Pixie Stix and Jolly Rancher candy. Vodka and triple sec add the punch to this drink.

At Gazebo Gardens Nursery, a popular spot for food trucks and craft beer, owner Scott Miller has created his own spin on the “Star Wars” theme. Miller and his bartending staff created the Howling Wookiee and the Dark Side.

The Wookiee is a sublime homage to the big hairy guy. A hard root beer combined with the herbal-tasting Underberg bitters could pass for something Chewbacca might chug.

And the Dark Side is an Anderson Valley oatmeal stout with a floater of Lagunitas’ high octane ale, Brown Shugga.’ Dark, strong and fierce.

Miller says both drinks will be available at the Gazebo Gardens beer garden this week. The nursery is on the northeast corner of Shields Avenue and Van Ness Boulevard.

 ‘Star Wars’ is a great movie, and these are great drinks,” Miller says.

The staff at the Cracked Pepper Bistro, one of Fresno’s top restaurants, have also joined the fun with two craft cocktails: the Emperor, a dark mix of scotch, Drambuie and Disaronno, and the Hans So-Old Fashion, a drink with swagger. It combines cognac, rye whiskey and black walnut bitters. Cracked Pepper is located at 6737 N. Palm Ave.

Tommy Caprelian, owner and brewmaster of House of Pendragon in Clovis, is as geeked up about “Star Wars” as anyone.

This week, Caprelian’s brewery and tasting room at 1345 N. Willow Ave., Suite 192, will be releasing eight Star Wars-themed beers. The new beers are:

▪ The Chocolate Menace: Sweet stout brewed with chocolate.

▪ Attack of the IPA Clone: A version of the Lancelot IPA that has been fermented with an English beer yeast.

▪ Revenge of the Saison: French Farmhouse Saison brewed with Hibiscus flowers.

▪ A New Hop: IPA brewed with two experimental hops.

▪ Empire Strikes HoP: IPA brewed with oats, mosaic and citra hops.

▪ Return of the Je-Rye: IPA brewed with a heavy dose of rye malt, mosaic, apollo and New Zealand motueka hops.

▪ Directive 66: English style oatmeal stout.

▪ The Lupilin Awakens: Double IPA with amarillo, citra and mosaic hops.

“My family and I, as well as many of our employees, are huge ‘Star Wars’ fans,” Caprelian says. “We thought it would be fun to give fans something to do in the days leading to the movie release.”

Robert Rodriguez: 559-441-6327, @FresnoBeeBob

Java the Hutt

By Eureka Fresno

3 ounces of coffee porter

1 ounce of Corsair Triple Smoke Whiskey

6 dashes of chocolate bitters

½ ounce of simple syrup

1 tablespoon of half and half

Powder sugar to garnish

Combine ingredients, stir and pour into glass with ice.

Darth Vaderaide

By Eureka Fresno

¾ ounce of grenadine

¾ ounce of lemon juice

¾ of triple sec

1 ½ ounces of vodka

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker and pour into sugar-rimmed glass. Garnish with lemon rind

Howling Wookiee

By Gazebo Gardens

12 ounces of Not Your Father’s Root Beer (or any hard root beer)

1 bottle of Underberg Bitters, 0.67 ounces

Pour the root beer in a tall glass. Add bottle of bitters, stir and serve.

Dark Side

By Gazebo Gardens

12 ounces of Anderson Valley’s Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout

3 ounces of Lagunitas Brown Shugga’

Slowly pour oatmeal stout in large glass, add three ounces of Lagunitas.

The Emperor

By Cracked Pepper Bistro

2 ounces of Aucentoshen Scotch

.5 ounces of drambiue

.5 ounces of disarrano

3 dashes Fee Brothers orange bitters

Stir, serve, garnish with orange twist.

The Han So-Old Fashion

By Cracked Pepper Bistro

1 ounce of cognac

1 ounce of Bulliet Rye Whiskey

.25 ounce of simple syrup or a bar spoon of raw sugar

3 dashes Fee Brothers black walnut bitters

Stir, serve over a big ice cube, garnish with an orange twist.