Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hawaiian Cocktails on the Garden Island of Kauai

A perfect Hawaiian vacation evokes visions of bright sun, soft sand, blue ocean, and a frosty alcoholic beverage in hand, especially after a day of hiking, kayaking, or snorkeling.  The Hawaiian Islands are replete with signature Hawaiian cocktails such as Mai Tais, Lava Flows, and Piña Coladas.  We discovered three of Kauai’s best Hawaiian cocktails with some very unique ingredients.

Duke’s Kauai Kalapaki Colada


Duke’s Kauai Kalapaki Colada Hawaiian Cocktail Kauai
Piña Colada, on the rocks?
Normally when you think of a Piña Colada you think of a frozen beverage.  But Duke’s Kauai Kalapaki Colada is surprisingly served on the rocks.  I would have never thought of having a Piña Colada on the rocks, but after tasting the Kalapaki Colada I may never go back.  Duke’s Kauai Kalapaki Colada is made with Kōloa Gold Rum from Kōloa Rum Company, macadamia nut liqueur, pineapple juice, and coconut syrup, all served on the rocks.  Who knew a Piña Colada could have such complex flavors?  Duke’s Kauai is located on the Marriott Kauai property just south of Lihue and we visited while we were staying at Marriott’s Kauai Lagoons.  In addition to the Kalapaki Colada, Duke’s Kauai serves a number of other Hawaiian cocktails.

Kilohana Plantation’s Mahikō Lounge Mai Tai


Mai Tais are a popular Hawaiian cocktail, but I’ve never been a fan.  They hand them out at places like overcrowded luaus and they usually don’t taste very good.  But when I visited the Kilohana Plantation during a Kauai food tour we got to try Mahikō Lounge’s Mai Tai and it was unlike any Mai Tai I had ever tasted previously.  The Mai Tai is made with a number of natural ingredients that create layers of flavor in this fresh tasting cocktail.  I’ll share Mahikō Lounge’s Mai Tai recipe, but I can’t guarantee you’ll be able to recreate it’s deliciousness at home, even if you do have Kōloa Rum Company's Hawaiian rums.

Kilohana Plantation’s Mahikō Lounge Mai Tai Hawaiian Cocktail Kauai

In a glass filled with ice add the following ingredients:


1½ ounces of Kōloa Gold Rum
Squeeze of vanilla bean infused simple syrup
Squeeze of Orgeat Syrup (a sweet almond flavored syrup)
Squeeze of lime juice
Squeeze of fresh sugar cane juice 
(Mahikō Lounge has a sugar cane press)
Squeeze of lemon juice


Shake the mixture
Pour in a glass
Float Kōloa Dark Rum on top
Garnish with mint and pineapple



Hukilau Lanai Coconut Okole


Hukilau Lanai Coconut Okole Hawaiian Cocktail KauaiThe third Hawaiian cocktail I had in Kauai was completely new to me, but yet quintessentially Hawaiian.  I discovered the Coconut Okole when we dined at Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa.  It doesn’t look like much.  You’d think it was just a glass of water if it weren’t for the flower floating on top.  But it sure doesn’t taste like water.  The Coconut Okole is made with Okolehao, a Hawaiian moonshine distilled from sugar cane and ti leaf.  The Hawaiian moonshine is mixed with fresh coconut water.  It is a light beverage with a pleasant and very Hawaiian coconut flavor, but with the heat of moonshine.  Hukilau Lanai serves a number of unique cocktail choices with unusual flavors, but the Coconut Okole is the most Hawaiian of the cocktails.

Kauai has endless choices for enjoying an alcoholic beverage.  These are my three choices for spectacular Hawaiian cocktails with unusual and fresh flavors and the taste of Hawaii in every sip.

What is your favorite Hawaiian cocktail?

Katherine Belarmino has been traveling for over ten years on a quest to see as much of the world as possible, experience new cultures, and sample other cuisines and libations. She also writes the travel blog Travel the World, which journals her world travels with her husband Romeo and seeks to encourage others to take the time to travel.