Rye-Lo Ren: A Cocktail for May the 4th

There are a ton of Star Wars themed cocktails out there, but frankly, with a few exceptions, many of them are not very good (do not get me started on the one that includes mixing Gin, Vodka [why?] and Rum with Peach Schnapp’s and Everclear [yes, someone posted this to their site, on purpose]). Many of them re-use the same names over and over again (try searching for “Death Star Cocktail” to see what I mean).

“I feel it again. The pull to the light.”

That’s why I’m here: a fan who saw the original Star Wars at a drive-in theater in Modesto in 1977, I continue to celebrate the franchise by reading novels and comics, watching movies as well as live-action and animated series, listening to the music, wearing t-shirts, and yes, creating delicious, balance cocktails to celebrate one of my favorite pop culture phenomena.


A coupe glass with a cocktail inside, garnished with a strawberry. A Lego figure of Kylo Ren from Star Wars stands on the base of the glass.I created this back in 2020 during the pandemic lockdowns to have something new and exciting to drink while staying home and watching “The Rise of Skywalker” at home with my wife and daughter. It uses fresh seasonal ingredients, such as some strawberries we had picked up at our local farmer’s market the week, along with a homemade Ancho Cacao Liqueur I had on hand.

  • 1.5 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz Lemon Juice
  • 0.75 oz Ancho Cacao Liqueur (recipe follows)
  • 0.50 oz Aperol
  • 0.25 oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 dashes Mole Bitters
  • 3 strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • Garnish: One small strawberry
  • Preparation: Muddle the quartered strawberries in a shaking tin with the bitters and simple syrup. Add the remaining ingredients and shake with ice, then double-strain into a coupe or cocktail glass and garnish.


  • 1 750 ml bottle Vodka (100 Proof)
  • 6 oz cacao nibs
  • 2 ancho chile pods
  • 12 oz simple syrup

Pour the vodka into a large glass jar with a lid and add the cacao nibs and ancho chile pods. Gently stir to combine, then let sit in a cool, dry place for about three days. Taste after the second day to to adjust the spiciness (the longer it sits, the spicier it will get). Strain out the solids and add the simple syrup and stir again to combine, then seal (you can use old emptied and cleaned spirits bottles or leave in the glass jar) and store in a cool, dry place and use within a year. You can use this as a replacement ingredient in recipes that call for crème de cacao (for a spicier version) or that call for Ancho Reyes (for richer chocolate flavor).

Recipe by Martin R. Thomas

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