Although the temperature on Maui stays in the same 10 to 15 degree range throughout the year, everyone loves summertime in Hawaii. School’s out, the water’s warm, the trade winds are blowing, and the sun is almost always shining. And you know what goes well with summertime on Maui? That’s right! Booze.
A brief note: Years of bartending and serving people future hangovers in a cup taught me to drink things that do not result in regret, so if you’re searching for overly sweet, overly ridiculous cocktails, keep on searchin’.
If you haven’t yet discovered the wonder that is lilikoi, aka passionfruit, it’s time. Lilikoi is like the cheese of the fruit world – it’s good with everything. This cocktail isn’t a new one; it’s served in several bars and restaurants throughout the island. But why pay $10 for something you can easily make yourself! Also, if you make it yourself, you can (secretly) enjoy it where it’s meant to be enjoyed – on the beach.
1.5 oz Tequila – my favorites are Don Julio Blanco or Herradura Silver
3/4 oz Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice – squeeze your own
1 oz Lilikoi – approximately 3 to 4 lilikoi, with seeds strained out
.5 oz honey or agave syrup
Li Hing Mui Powder
Sprinkle li hing mui powder on a plate. Rim glass using a lime wedge, then dip (upside down) in powder. Shake to remove excess.
Fill glass with ice and set aside.
In a shaker, mix a scoop of ice with tequila, grand marnier (or cointreau), lime juice, lilikoi, and small amount of honey or agave nectar. Shake vigorously until mixed.
Strain over fresh ice.
Garnish with lime wedge.
Never infused your own booze? It’s awesomely easy. Grab a few inexpensive mason jars, a cutting board, knife and you’re good to.
1-2 Maui Pineapples
Fresh Mint Sprigs
Vodka – my favorites are Ketel One or Tito’s
Cut pineapple into small, bite-sized pieces. Place into mason jar (about 3/4 of the way full) along with 2-5 mint sprigs. Top with vodka until full and close lid tightly. Store in refrigerator for 24 to 72 hours.
Strain 1.5 oz vodka into glass of ice.
Top with 3/4 oz sparkling water and a splash of lemonade.
Garnish with an (optional) fresh mint sprig and slice of pineapple.
The best part? Hand out the pieces of pineapple (which are essentially a shot of delicious vodka) as party favors. This is an instant way to make new friends.
For the particularly hardcore, we move onto bourbon (hooray!). We’re going to give the classic old fashioned a Maui kick with some blood orange goodness.
3/4 oz Blood Orange Juice – squeeze your own
1 Sugar Cube
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
2 oz Bourbon – my favorites are Bulleit or Knob Creek
Place sugar cube in the bottom of a glass, and top with 3 dashes of bitters.
Add 3/4 oz blood orange juice, muddle and stir until sugar cube is dissolved.
Add ice, pour 2 oz bourbon over ice, continue stirring for several seconds.
Squeeze blood orange wedge and drop in glass.
Fresh & Clean
Heads up, gin lovers. All 14 of you. This is a light and refreshing cocktail, perfect for sunshine and a little more interesting than your standard G&T.
Fresh Basil Leaves
1 oz Grapefruit Juice – squeeze your own
.5 oz Simple Syrup – equal parts water and sugar, which you can easily make yourself
1.5 oz Gin – my favorite is Hendrick’s
In shaker tin (or whatever you’re using as a shaker tin), muddle 2-3 basil leaves (tear them in half if you want the flavor to pop more) and simple syrup.
Add scoop of ice, grapefruit juice and gin.
Shake well, pour over fresh ice if you’d like to enjoy it on the rocks (with an optional splash of sparkling water) or as a martini.
Garnish with basil leaf and/or grapefruit slice.
Some of the best places to stock up on booze on Maui include:
Costco – While you may not necessarily need several giant bottles of several kinds of liquor, they actually have great prices on alcohol. If you’re making a trip here anyway (it’s located directly by the airport), you may as well stock up.
Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors – Also located in Kahului, Tamura’s has a huge selection of beer, wine and liquor (at great prices) and the staff is very friendly and helpful. Don’t miss their poke selection as well!
Aloha Discount Liquor – If you’re staying in Kihei, this little shop offers a good variety of liquor and beer with a separate wine attic upstairs. The service is always top notch if you need any recommendations!
Longs Drugs – With locations in Kihei, Kahului and Lahaina, Long’s offers a wide selection of alcohol at good prices. CVS member cards work here as well.
Mahalo for reading, and happy summertime boozing! Remember, Maui has Uber now (not to mention taxis and a bus system), so there’s no excuse to drive if you shouldn’t be. Cheers!