SKY Waikīkī Takes Iconic O‘ahu Surf Breaks and Turns Them Into Cocktails

Seven new surf-inspired drinks combine playfulness with intoxicating flavors.

The Kawela Spritz ($12), Lighthouse Mule ($10), Chunʻs Highball ($11) and Makapuʻu Blue ($11) are part of SKY Waikīkī’s new summer menu.
Photo: Katrina Valcourt


Picture Makapu‘u Beach Park: ice-blue waves crashing on the sand, swirling white foam, cool, invigorating waters.


Now order the Makapu‘u Blue off SKY Waikīkī’s new summer menu: a mixture of blue Curacao, white coconut cream, Reyka vodka and rum with lemon, a bit of lime and some crushed ice. Fun idea, right?


After living in Honolulu for almost two years, SKY director of mixology Jennifer Ackrill is done playing it safe with her drinks. Now on her third menu since SKY’s opening in August of 2015, she’s taking risks: Say goodbye to favorites like the ‘Iolani Cooler and the Deconstructed Mai Tai and dive into seven new signature cocktails, plus two punch bowls, that pay homage to surf spots around O‘ahu.


“I made some cool cocktails, some adventuresome cocktails, some progressive cocktails,” she says, “because Waikīkī is ready for it.”


We sampled all nine drinks at a recent media event and especially loved the Lighthouse Mule ($10), which refreshes the classic Moscow Mule with house-made yuzu ginger syrup and turmeric-infused vodka (which, Ackrill says, is super easy to make at home). The straw is red and white, just like the Diamond Head Lighthouse, with a sprig of rosemary for garnish.


We also really enjoyed Chun’s Highball ($11), named after a mellow North Shore break with a strong current. It goes down easy, thanks to lemony notes and soda, but hits you with Highland Park 12-year scotch. (The drink is technically a Collins, Ackrill says, but it’s very similar to a Japanese highball.)


On the stronger side, Mākaha Madness ($13) combines spicy chili liqueur with Kona cold brew, cinnamon, crème de cacao and Bittermens mole bitters. This is a drink that wakes you up, but its bold flavors will overpower anything else you drink after. Kind of like when you surf Mākaha and spend the rest of your day thinking about it.


Ackrill says she wanted to create really photogenic drinks, to make it fun for people coming to SKY. The prettiest drink on the new menu is also the strongest, challenging the idea that pink drinks are light and fruity: The Sunset Sazerac ($11) combines Tanqueray, Velvet Falernum, bitters and absinthe spray for a boozy homage to one of O‘ahu’s best places to watch the sun go down. But even though it’s strong it’s still well balanced, as are all the new drinks. See the full menu here.


SKY Waikīkī, 2270 Kalākaua Ave., 19th floor, 979-7590,