Anyone who chooses to call herself Ms Barstool will not likely post photos of tropical sunsets or local flora and/or fauna when she ventures off her barstool and out into the world. While the sun set and the surf kissed the shore and the palm trees swayed, I took photos of my luscious island cocktails. For the record, I did actually look up occasionally to see some local flora and fauna.* But in general, I lean toward libations as my subject. I try not to lean too far. It’s unseemly.
To begin at the beginning: The Mai Tai. Let’s say we buy Trader Vic’s theory that this drink originated at his first saloon, Hinky Dinks, at 6500 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland. We’ll overlook the conflicting claims of Don the Beachcomber (who credited himself for inventing the drink ten years before Vic Bergeron did), and let Trader Vic tell his story (from the Trader Vic’s website):
“In 1944, after success with several exotic rum drinks, I felt a new drink was needed. I was at the service bar in my Oakland restaurant. I took down a bottle of 17-year old Jamaican J. Wray Nephew rum, added fresh lime, some Orange Curacao from Holland, a dash of Rock Candy syrup, and a dollop of French Orgeat, for its subtle flavor. A generous amount of shaved ice and vigorous shaking by hand produced the marriage I was after.
Half the lime shell went in for color … I stuck in a branch of fresh mint and gave two of them to Ham and Carrie Guild, friends from Taihiti, who were there that night.
Carrie took one sip and said, “Mai Tai – Roa Ae.” In Tahitian this means “Out of this World – The Best.” Well, that was that. I named the drink “Mai Tai.”
And just so there’s no misunderstanding about who gets bragging rights, the drink appears as “The Original Mai Tai®” on the restaurant’s menu.
Note: any paper umbrellas were removed from drinks pictured here, because . . .really, do I need to explain?
Moving on: The Eruption. I guess volcanoes inspired this drink we ordered at The Dolphin Restaurant in Hanalei on the north shore of Kaua’i. It is a Pina Colada with Bacardi rum and strawberry swirls, floated with Grand Marnier. The strawberry swirls do resemble the lava flow we were able to view from a distance on the Big Island. That was cool, but this drink was much cooler.
We ducked out of the rain into a sushi bar on the 4th of July. Luckily, the rain lasted long enough for us to enjoy our cocktails before walking over to see some fireworks.This drink was called the “Kodama Bahama,” made with Skyy Raspberry vodka and pineapple and cranberry juice, with a Midori splash–which I think represents the elusive “green flash” of the sunset. See it way down at the bottom?
Weary–and wary–of those paper umbrellas, my next drink came unadorned with accessories.
The Blackberry Bourbon Smash: Maker’s Mark, Blue Curacao, fresh lemon, cranberry, Peychaud bitters, and blackberry. Refreshing!
In a similar vein, but on a different night, The Honey Blossom: Maker’s Mark, lime juice, honey syrup, and a splash of grenadine. This was taken on a night when the moon was a mere sliver. Hard to see, but not hard to drink.
Were there others? Sure, but this seemed like an ample sampling of my vacation cocktails. I’m always looking to try something new in a glass. My work is never done.
Alas, all good things must come to an end . . .and the last toast we made was on the flight back home. A little fresh fruit juice and some bubbly. Glasses half full, from my perspective.
Cheers and aloha!
*Ginger at Waimea Falls Park