5 Cocktails with Interesting Names in Honolulu

When it comes to local cocktails, what’s in a name?
Ever wonder why this drink from Moku Kitchen is call .22 In The Book? Yeah, we did, too.
Photos: James Charisma


Who wants Sex on the Beach?


And by that, I mean a mixed drink of vodka, peach schnapps, and orange and cranberry juices. Or a Between the Sheets, with white rum, cognac, triple sec and lemon juice. You could also get a bloody mary, Monkey Gland, White Lady or French 75.


But maybe the bigger question is: Who comes up with all these bizarre-sounding drink names? History points to bartender Harry MacElhone, who is credited with creating many of the above cocktails at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris from 1923 to the 1950s.


Here in Hawai‘i, we have plenty of unusually named local cocktails of our own—and I don’t mean Blue Hawai‘is or mai tais. We recently roamed Hawai‘i’s bars looking for the strangest sounding drinks we could find; here’s a roundup of five of our favorites:


1. Spicy Kitty, Fête


The maneki-neko figurine is said to bring good luck to its owner—and at Fête, on the corner of Hotel Street and Nu‘uanu Avenue in Chinatown, this Japanese cat will bring you a spicy, herbaceous and refreshing cocktail made from Kikori whisky, Yuzuri liqueur, Hawaiian chili-infused oleo saccharum, salt, lemon juice and muddled shiso, topped with club soda. Plus shichimi togarashi seasoning, presumably to help the cat clean its ear. Fête is currently only one of two spots on the island to sport these cute ceramic mugs (the other being Hideout at The Laylow in Waikīkī). We know what you’re thinking, but no, sadly, the cups are not for sale.


$13, 2 N. Hotel St., (808) 369-1390, fetehawaii.com


2. Frank’s Trip to Jakarta, Square Barrels


Square Barrels owner Thomas Ray has a buddy named Frank who regularly travels to Jakarta, Indonesia, to party. Like the movie, The Hangover, Frank often ends up in bizarre (and compromising) situations as a result, much to Ray’s amusement. In Frank’s honor, this cocktail was created in the style of a French/New Orleans Vieux Carré, with High West Double Rye whiskey, Bénédictine herbal liqueur, Raynal V.S.O.P. brandy, sweet vermouth and bitters. Strong, with a rich sweetness that’s tempered by the bitters, this is a powerful drink that will definitely leave you hurting in the morning if you have too many. Frank would be proud.


$15, 1001 Bishop St., (808) 524-2747, squarebarrels.com


3. .22 In The Boot, Moku Kitchen

Made from a strawberry-infused carpano antica, small-batch Woodford Reserve bourbon specially made for Moku Kitchen, Lustau sherry, orange and bitters, the .22 In The Boot is sweet and tangy without being spicy. It’s got whiskey, but it’s not heavy, and has a slight taste of tamarind. Its unusual name suggests the drink could easily become your go-to beverage. Easy drinking that’s always ready—like a reliable quick-draw revolver in the Wild West. Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon.


$12.50, 660 Ala Moana Blvd., (808) 591-6658, mokukitchen.com


4. The Drifting Mistress, Herringbone


On an airline flight between Asia and Europe, director of beverages Constantin Alexander and chief mixologist Tim Weigel of Hakkasan Group, the parent company of Herringbone, conceptualized this drink consisting of Suntory Toki whisky, Amaro Montenegró, sake, ginger, brown sugar and egg whites. It’s a cosmopolitan beverage with a seductive name, one that tastes of light ginger and almost no bite of alcohol at all. And to top it off, bartender James at Herringbone in Waikīkī adds little hearts made out of bitters that sort of drift around atop the egg white foam in the glass.


$14, 2330 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 797-2435, herringboneeats.com/locations/waikiki


5. Chopin’s Last Word, Mud Hen Water


Devised by Mud Hen Water bar manager Kelly Jeffers, this mysteriously named drink doesn’t actually refer to Chopin vodka—instead, it’s got El Jimador reposado tequila, Chareau aloe liqueur, pandan simple syrup and Meyer lemon. The result is citrusy and light with a taste of pear and winter fruit. So who’s Chopin? Nobody. It’s a portmanteau of the “ch” of Chareau and “pan” in pandan. (We can almost hear our ninth-grade English teacher chuckling.)


$10, 3452 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 737-6000, mudhenwater.com