I bought this mug for the wife way back in September, when he was still just “the child” or Baby Yoda, set adrift among the stars with the Mandalorian. I had planned on making a drink in it for her birthday, but things change as they so often do. This little fella languished in a box for a while, not forgotten, but not getting any love either, even after he revealed himself as Grogu. Last week, during the Snowpocalypse my son and I built new shelves to showcase our cocktail glass collection, with a special area for the tiki mugs and this guy took center stage. Even since, he will not stop subtly reminding us that he still has not had his moment in the twin suns and that he sort of needs that. He’s got abandonment issues. So, in honor of late bloomers everywhere, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make The Castaway.

This drink comes to us from the Lobby Bar and Lounge at the Terranea Resort in Los Angeles, less than 45 minutes from the Industrial Light and Magic soundstage where most of The Mandalorian was filmed. One of the cool things about the production is the new technology they are using to shoot the series, with green screens being replaced by virtual locations created using the Unreal Engine and displayed on giant LED screens around the actors, with the lighting keyed to match. Really amazing stuff, check it out. The drink is also a step forward, an evolution of sorts. It is a riff on the classic Piña Colada with some minor ingredient differences, but the big change here is that it is shaken instead of blended. Just like having the actors interact with an actual background instead of just big walls of green, the change may not seem like much but it makes all the difference.

Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of gold rum, I chose El Dorado 5 Year; 1 ounce of amaretto, I used DiSaronno; 2 ounces of pineapple juice, 1/2 an ounce of cream of coconut, 1/2 an ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice and 2 stabs of Angostura Bitters. Add ice and give it a good shake to the beat of Martin Denny’s exotica classic, “Quiet Village”. When your tins are well chilled pour over crushed ice in a tiki glass shaped like our favorite little castaway. Grate a little of one of those amazing Amaretto Cookies on the ice and garnish with an umbrella to keep any raindrops from falling on his head and definitely use one of those Surfside Sips glass bamboo straws.

It is crazy how shaking this one changes things. It is excellent, obviously. I am surprised at how the amaretto peeks through that coconut and pineapple to add a nice nutty underflavor. There are a lot of riffs on the Piña Colada, usually subbing a major component like the awesome Piña Verde with its Green Chartreuse base, but this one is definitely worth adding to the rotation and a great variation to keep in your back pocket when you don’t have a blender handy, but still want something Colada-esque, you know, in case you need to escape.

I was a big fan of The Mandalorian for all of its fan service and possible plot holes, I mean plot devices. It makes sense, I was also a fan of the source material, the Lone Wolf and Cub Manga, well, at least the english version released by Dark Horse Comics. That warrior doing his business with his young ward underfoot always got to me, with its humanizing elements in the midst of violence. The show did a great job of capturing that ethos, while transporting it to the Star Wars universe. It’s funny how a story about a man hiding behind a mask and a voiceless child can be so tinged with emotion. As my buddy Ross, commented…

“The reason it works is twofold: first, Pascal is a talented actor. Second, he’s literally doing mask work, which, as any good student of theatre history knows, is one of the oldest dramatic conventions in the world. The Greeks did it, the Japanese still do it a la Kabuki or Noh. It’s the same reason that puppetry works: we the audience impose our own emotions upon the actor’s face and empathize with them. It’s brilliant, and it would work brilliantly even without the truly amazing tech they’re using for backgrounds. I love that we’re still using millennia-old techniques alongside cutting-edge ones. It fits so well with the Star Wars concept because SW itself does the exact same thing. Lucas based the first film and all his characters directly on his favorite films, characters, and themes as his favorite Japanese films. It’s lovely, and it endures because it’s so universal and timeless.

Ross Brooks, noted good guy

Well said, Ross. Thank you for helping us understand why we can see our own pain, fear and love reflected in an expressionless mask. It’s heavy stuff and wonderful craftsmanship. To be fair, maybe having my own young ward joining my adventures affects my perceptions a bit. I guess it just goes to show that you don’t have to see someone’s eyes to understand how they feel and that love wins, even in a galaxy far, far away. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.