Sign Up for Our Monthly Hawaii Newsletter
When it comes to ordering Hawaiian drinks, most every menu is bound to feature the mai tai and chi chi. However, those standard orders are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creative, island-style cocktails.
Inspired by their idyllic surroundings and fresh local ingredients, mixologists at Hawaii resorts are dreaming up distinctive libations that provide the perfect accompaniment to a tropical sunset.
What follows are a few of the more unique signature drinks currently being poured at Hawaii hotels, along with their recipes in case ambitious readers want to whip up a few of their own. Okole maluna (bottoms up)!
Sweet and Salty Watermelon Mojito: Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas4 oz. fresh local seedless watermelon¼ oz. Big Island lehua honey6 to 10 mint leaves2 fresh limes, each cut into 4 wedges1.5 oz. Old Lahaina Silver rumClub sodaPink Hawaiian sea salt
Blend the watermelon chunks with honey. Add a splash of soda to mix easily. Separate the mint leaves and add to the cocktail shaker. Add lime wedges and rum to shaker. Muddle the contents in the shaker. Add cubed ice and agitate. Rim a rocks glass with the sea salt. Fill the glass with cubed ice and strain shaker contents over ice. Garnish with a watermelon wedge, mint sprig and wedge of lime. Serve with a four-inch cocktail straw.Cy Gabourie, manager of the hotel’s Pailolo Bar and Grill, initially created this cocktail to bring sunshine to his rainy home city of Vancouver, B.C. When he moved to Maui, he added a tropical twist with the Hawaiian sea salt and Big Island lehua honey. The perfect poolside libation with a light and refreshing taste and a hint of lime, it’s ideal as a seasonal cocktail or for a special occasion.
Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villaswww.westinkaanapali.com
The Fredrico: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel1-¼ oz. Bacardi light rum1-¼ oz. Jack Daniels2-3 oz. each of pineapple, passion fruit, guava and orange juicesSplash grenadine
Blend all ingredients with ice. Garnish with a cherry, pineapple wedge and fresh orchid.This drink was the invention of two frequent guests by the names of Fred and Rico. The two friends spent many hours of each day at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s Gazebo Bar, watching the waves roll in and the glorious sunsets over Kaunaoa Bay. They became quite the connoisseurs of exotic drinks and would have Jim the bartender prepare all sorts of concoctions for their sampling. After much tasting and many debates, the Fredrico was born.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotelwww.maunakeabeachhotel.com
Tom’s Pink Shirt: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai3 sliced strawberries1-1/2 oz. sour mix of lime juice/agave nectar1-1/2 oz. Tanqueray Rangpour gin3/4 oz. Orchid Guava liqueurSplash lemon-lime soda
Muddle strawberries, then add sour mix, gin and guava liqueur to one-half scoop of ice and shake gently. Pour all into a pilsner glass and top with with lemon-lime soda. Garnish with min.
Beach Tree restaurant bartender Tom Callero came up with this refreshingly fruity and light drink, the result of a full day of testing and trying new cocktail recipes for the re-opening of the restaurant. This was one of the last drinks to be named, and the weary staff suggested Tom's Pink Shirt because Callero was wearing a pink shirt that day. The name stuck and Tom has been teased ever since. He insists the shirt is not pink but actually salmon in color.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalaiwww.fourseasons.com/hualalai
Hawaiian Bloody Mary: Kahala Hotel and Resort1-1/2 oz. Hawaiian vodka4 oz. tomato juice4 dashes Tobasco sauce4 dashes Worcestershire sauce1 small pinch Hawaiian sea salt1 small pinch black pepper
Combine ingredients in a glass rimmed with Hawaiian sea salt. Garnish with skewered Hawaii-grown tomatoes and cucumbers and Big Island pipikaula (beef jerky)Kahala Hotel and Resort head bartender Stan Lum was looking for a unique drink with a smooth taste that lies in its Hawaii-made products. The pipikaula touches the drink with a smoky effervescence. The biggest contribution to the drink is the sea salt, which is found only in the pristine waters off the Hawaiian archipelago. It has a high level of trace minerals and is known to finish smoother than most salts.
Kahala Hotel and Resortwww.kahalaresort.com
Ginger Margarita: St. Regis Princeville ResortGinger-infused salt1 oz. tequila reposado1-½ oz. ginger syrup½ oz. Cointreau1 lime wedge
Rim a rocks glass with the ginger salt and fill with fresh ice. Pour tequila, ginger syrup and Cointreau in a cocktail shaker. Add large ice chunks and shake vigorously. Strain into the prepared glass. Squeeze the lime wedge and drop it into the glass.The Ginger Margarita is the signature cocktail perfected by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and served at the St. Regis Princeville’s Kauai Grill restaurant. Considered a master of fusion cuisine, Vongerichten blends traditional preparations with ethnic influences such as Hawaiian, Vietnamese and Indian in his cuisine. He follows a similar direction in creating his signature cocktails. Here, the essence of ginger is a true standout, and St. Regis guests describe it as zesty and refreshing.
St. Regis Princeville Resortwww.stregisprinceville.com
Coconut and Basil: The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua1 leaf fresh basil1-1/2 oz. Grey Goose vodka1/2 oz. Coco Lopez3 oz. pineapple juice1/4 oz. lime Juice
Muddle the basil in a shaker. Add the other ingredients with ice. Shake and serve in a poco grande glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge.
Gian Saetti has been with The Ritz-Carlton for more than 10 years. Passionate about bartending, he has worked with master mixologists to hone his drink-making skills. In looking to create a unique hand-crafted cocktail for the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua’s Alaloa Lounge, he came up with the coconut and basil cocktail, which has the flavor profile of a chi chi but with a hint of basil. Currently one of the top selling cocktails in the lounge, it’s very light and refreshing.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapaluawww.ritzcarlton.com
Mauna Lani Medley: Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows1 fresh strawberry1 oz. coconut rum 1 oz. Coco Lopez3 oz. reshly-squeezed pineapple juiceA one-inch slice of fresh banana
Muddle the strawberry and banana in the bottom of a mixer glass and top with ice. Add the rum, Coco Lopez and pineapple juice. Shake to combine and pour into a 14 oz. poco grande glass or equivalent. Garnish with a pineapple, cherry and a flower.
This drink was created by celebrated Hawaii cocktail mixologist Joey Gottesman, who partners with Mauna Lani Bay on various projects and events. Gottesman wanted to offer a modern take on the traditional Lava Flow cocktail. This non-blended version makes the drink lighter, more refreshing and — as some say — a lot easier to have more than just one. With the fresh strawberries, banana and pineapple juice, the Mauna Lani medley is a true taste of Hawaii which can be enjoyed year-round.
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalowswww.maunalani.com
Hana Haze - Four Seasons Resort Maui3 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin1/4 oz. elderflower syrup1/4 oz. coconut water1/4 oz lime juice
Add all ingredients in a martini shaker, shake to evenly distribute and pour into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a candied hibiscus flower stuffed with fresh mint.
Eric Martinez, one of the bartenders at the Four Seasons’ Serenity Pool, created this cocktail for a mixology competition that was sponsored by Bombay Sapphire and GQ magazine, and he ended up taking second place in Hawaii. The inspiration for the Hana Haze came from his childhood when he use to camp in the rainforests of Hana, Maui. Smooth and easy to drink, it has slight minty nuances with, as Martinez puts it, “a bouquet reminiscent of an early rainforest dew.”
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Waileawww.fourseasons.com/maui
The Fredrico // © 2011 Mauna Kea Beach Hotel
Tom's Pink Shirt. Credit: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Hawaiian Bloody Mary // © 2011 Kahala Hotel and Resort
Ginger Margarita: St. Regis Princeville Resort
Coconut and Basil // © 2011 Ritz-Carlton Kapalua
Mauna Lani Medley // © 2011 Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows.
Hana Haze // © 2011 Four Seasons Resort Maui