An Afternoon Tea with Spiked Cocktails?

RumFire turns an elegant tea experience into something a little naughty.
RumFire launched its Spiked Tea Experience in 2014, offering spiked tea cocktails and sliders instead of traditional afternoon tea fare.
Photos: Jaclyn Saito


There’s boozy brunch, so why not spiked afternoon tea?


RumFire has made this a reality. (And men, don’t be afraid to join in.)


RumFire’s goal is to put a twist on the classic, with its Spiked Tea Experience that launched in 2014. Cost is $22 per person, and you get one spiked tea cocktail, two sliders, a scone and a dessert.


For the cocktails, you can choose from the following: Sweet Energy (Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea vodka, Red Bull energy drink and lemon), ginger peach green tea (Seagram’s peach tea, Stirrings ginger liqueur and cold green tea), plantation pineapple (Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea vodka, Skyy pineapple vodka, chilled black tea, and lime and pineapple juices) or RumFire’s house tea kicked up with Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.


The view at RumFire at the Sheraton Waikīkī is unparalleled; you are practically sitting on beach (but without all the sand). It even beats the view from the Moana Surfrider, which offers afternoon tea on its veranda. You are given a choice of indoor or outdoor seating. Choose outdoors. Being located next to the pool can be noisy, but we didn’t have any problems. Well, except for the birds trying to eat off our plates.


The view from our table at RumFire, located on the oceanfront lawn of the Sheraton Waikīkī.


Brought on a traditional three-tiered tower, the presentation of the food was nice, especially in front of the beautiful ocean backdrop. It makes it hard not to think, “Lucky we live Hawai‘i.”


We decided to give the ginger peach green tea a try. The two strong liquors—Seagram’s peach tea and Stirrings ginger liqueur—overpowered the tea, leaving it tasting like a bad version of a watered-down Moscow mule. We would’ve preferred a fruitier, lighter drink such as a sangria or cooler. (For an additional charge, you can opt for one of the other cocktails on RumFire’s menu.)


Our favorite part of the tea was the savory sliders. We chose the Thai Lady, with roasted chicken covered in Sriracha aioli and lemongrass curry; the Spiked, a soft tortilla taco with grilled mahimahi, miso brown butter, and basil Kahuku corn salsa; and the Puaʻa, a slider with shredded kālua pork, red cabbage and chili pepper water relish. The fillings in both savory sliders were flavorful, though the bread was a tad dry.


We were sad to see that the scone was missing its usual partners-in-crime of clotted cream or jam. The scone was tasty, but, without a spread, it was too dry. Even a pad of butter would’ve gone a long way. 


Lastly, the dessert. We chose the red velvet cupcake and the Elvis Fudge. The Elvis Fudge—a piece of peanut butter and milk chocolate fudge paired with guava jelly—melted in our mouths. But the cupcake, despite a mascarpone frosting and local mint coulis, fell short. Sadly, it tasted like a cupcake we could’ve gotten from the grocery store—nothing special.


While we were there, we noticed a few other people getting the afternoon tea, but most people filled their tabletops with fries and burgers from the restaurant’s main menu. By the end of our experience, we caved and got the garlic fries ($7), which turned out to be the highlight of our meal.


We think spiked afternoon tea is a great idea, but the one at RumFire could use a little more work, particularly in offering more drink options and better desserts.


So, if you’re someone who loves all things afternoon tea and the dainty finger sandwiches and mini pastries that come with it, we would not recommend this version. But if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere, adding a little buzz to your day with a beach bar spin on afternoon tea—or you’re looking for somewhere casual to take out-of-town guests—then this might be the tea for you.


Spiked Tea Experience, $22 per person, RumFire, Sheraton Waikīkī, 1 to 4 p.m. daily, 2255 Kalākaua Ave., free parking with validation,