The Grown-Up Mai Tai at Hoku’s is Honolulu’s Best-Kept Secret
We found a revelation—the Kahala Original Mai Tai, $11, made with Bacardi Superior Light rum, Coruba dark rum, orange Curacao, almond syrup and lemon at Hoku’s.
PHOTO: A. KAM NAPIER
Few people may realize that there is a small, five- or six-seat bar in Hoku’s at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, but it’s a great little getaway to pop in for a drink. The cocktail menu there doesn’t quite live up to the world class cuisine of Hoku’s, being mainly straightforward hotel drinks without the gastronomic flourishes found in cocktails at Nobu or Lewer’s Lounge, but we did find a revelation—the Kahala Original Mai Tai, $11, made with Bacardi Superior Light rum, Coruba dark rum, orange Curacao, almond syrup and lemon. Forget the touristy mai tais of Waikiki, with their cartoon candy pineapple flavors, this mai tai comes on more like a Manhattan or an old fashioned. Lightly sweet, not overbearingly so, tasting like actual spirits, this is more like what the mai tai was meant to be when it was created at Trader Vic’s in 1944.