The Ultimate Hawai‘i Drinking Guide: What to Drink to Match Your Mood
We asked the Hale ‘Aina drink experts to recommend a drink to pair for nearly every emotion.
Whether we’re dining out at a favorite restaurant or relaxing over a meal we take home, enjoying good food and an adult beverage can help transform your day or week, especially now when our sense of time seems altered. Here is our Hale ‘Aina experts guide for a drink to pair with almost every mood—twice as many as we could fit in our December 2020/January 2021 issue.
Drink: Undercover Lover, Amuse Wine Bar
Take Kō Hana Kea rum, Meyer lemon, Grand Marnier, thyme, then “let the aroma of thyme entice you; romantic and adventurous to say the least, a great way to ease yourself into the perfect date night.” —head bartender Brett Anduha
Mood: Over It
Drink: Aperol Spritz, Amuse Wine Bar
“He doesn’t judge and he doesn’t talk, he’s simply there for you to sip on while you unwind. Before you know it, you’re over it all and settling into a much better mood. Shall we get you another?” —general manager Alice Ancarani
Drink: Champagne Cocktail, Amuse Wine Bar
“This classic, a nod to an Old-Fashioned, swaps out whiskey for Champagne. And for me, it’s a great way to start your evening, or even your morning, with delicious optimism.” —assistant manager Elise Liu
Drink: La Alteña, Bar Leather Apron
“La Alteña was created to feature our 2019 BLA El Tesoro single barrel reposado tequila and local mango, which had both just come into season. It starts with the bourbon-barrel-aged agave flavor, moves into a sweet yet tart flavor and texture from the lime and mango, and ends with a slight zing of heat from the shishito pepper and bittersweet touch of bergamot.” —head bartender Justin Park
Drink: All Yuzu’d Up, Bevy
“A light refreshing, fun and surprising low ABV (alcohol by volume) cocktail to brighten up your day or night, made with yuzu-infused sake, Amaro Montenegro, citrus and seltzer.” —owner Christian Self
Drink: T.B.D., Bevy
“Had a hard day, week, month or year? This boozy, smooth and easy-drinking number will help to relax you and ease those worries away. With relaxing bergamot and lavender essence, opulent Absolut Elyx vodka and spiked with CBD oil, it’s enough to ease even James Bond after saving the world—again.” —owner Christian Self
Mood: Craving Company
Drink: The Buddha Bowl (serves two), Bevy
“A drink to share for those tired of quarantining alone, being socially distant and wanting to have a special moment with their loved one again. A blend of Stiggins’ pineapple rum, Buffalo Trace bourbon, Jasper’s Secret Mix, coconut, lychee, with just the right amount of spice to heat up the night.” —owner Christian Self
Drink: Bee Sting, Lahaina Grill
“If you felt like you were stung by 2020, this is just what you need in 2021—starts with moonshine ‘ōkolehao and ends with lavender honey syrup! Sweet and sassy all in one glass.” —bartender Annabehl Sinclair-Delaney
Drink: Ai Ono, Monkeypod Kitchen
“I love this strong, complex tropical cocktail made with Knob Creek bourbon, Pedro Ximénez sherry, cinnamon, pineapple and lime. When I asked bartender Gina LaClair what she wanted to name this creation of hers, she shrugged and mumbled what sounded like ‘ai ono.’” —beverage director Jason Vendrell
Drink: Lucidity, Monkeypod Kitchen
“A simple, yet flavorful sour made with gin, lavender and a house-made lemon-chamomile sherbet. It’s tart, floral and the chamomile gives it a nice calming effect.” —bartender Adam Hulbert
Mood: Craving Company
Drink: Nice and Slow, Monkeypod Kitchen
“A strong yet smooth libation made with reposado tequila, dry Curaçao, cinnamon and salt. It packs some heat but goes down gently. Best to enjoy it nice and slow.” —beverage director Jason Vendrell
Drink: Nō Ka ‘Oi, Moku Kitchen
“One of our most fun and popular drinks, made with Ocean vodka, liliko‘i, Thai basil, honey, lime and egg white. It’s got a deliciously tart flavor and a light airy texture that always seems to make people smile.” —beverage director Jason Vendrell
Drink: Castro Candaz Ribeira Sacra, Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar
“Spain’s winemaking wunderkind prodigy, Raúl Pérez, is the hottest ticket in the winemaking world, noted for his wonderfully transparent, pure, provocatively savory, masculine un-heavy red wines. He also champions nearly forgotten grape varieties, methods of farming and winemaking like his forefathers did.” —master sommelier Chuck Furuya
Drink: Wirsching Scheurebe Kabinett Trocken, Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar
“[This] is a dry, effortlessly light, minerally, refreshingly uplifting German white wine—ideal for our warm climate, all kinds of foods and completely lifting the spirits.” —master sommelier Chuck Furuya
Drink: Chartogne-Taillet Brut Cuvée Sainte Anne, Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar
“Bubbly is the easy call. Consider this truly superb, small, artisan, family-owned estate Champagne. We love its pedigree, tiny, scintillating bubbles and how truly joyous it really is, all at a remarkable price.” —master sommelier Chuck Furuya
Drink: Mai Tai, Merriman’s
“Our mai tai, made with local rum, house-made macadamia nut orgeat and topped with honey and liliko‘i foam, is a joyous, fun celebration of the drink; a reinvention that pumped new life into an old classic, with well over a million of them enjoyed so far.” —Merriman’s Waimea bar manager/wine director Jim Lunchick
$14, $9 Mai Tai Mondays/happy hour. Multiple locations, merrimanshawaii.com
Drink: Etienne Dupont, Cidre Bouché Brut De Normandie, 2017, Merriman’s Waimea
“This is the real deal cider—unfiltered and unpasteurized—from the heart of Normandy. Take an adventure into the complex and delightful flavors that only old heirloom cider apples from France can bring.” —Merriman’s Waimea bar manager/wine director Jim Lunchick
Mood: Craving Company
Drink: Cubeta, Merriman’s Waimea
“Inspired by the great bars of Mexico, cubeta means bucket, and that’s just what it is: six local beers served in a bucket of ice, for people who crave company.” —Merriman’s Waimea bar manager/wine director Jim Lunchick
Drink: Kona Brewing Hibiscus Brut IPA, Kona Brewing Co.
“For cheers-ing, I like the brut IPA. It’s kind of got a drier finish but a nice hop with an 8.2% ABV and it uses Champagne yeast. And it’s a beer brewed specifically to celebrate our 25th anniversary.” —bar manager James Kiko
Drink: South Shore Siren, Kona Brewing Co.
“At about 6:30 p.m. in our pub, we call it golden hour and the sun hits over the water and everything kind of glows. I just picture drinking that right on our waterside table: the Sailor Jerry rum, ginger liqueur, fresh sweet-sour mix and fresh liliko‘i juice and we pour ginger beer over that. Super refreshing.” —bar manager James Kiko
Mood: Wind Down
Drink: Big Wave Golden Ale, Kona Brewing Co.
“It’s the perfect after-beach kind of brew. It’s not the lightest but it is on the light side. It would be my go-to beer after a long hike or a surf session.” —bar manager James Kiko
Drink: Note the Ropes!, Maui Brewing Co.
“We adventure through our hikes, our beaches and our beautiful parks. So why not adventure through our kitchens and blend up tequila, sour mix and orange liqueur, then pour it over a refreshing, crisp Maui Brewing lager?” —general manager Shawn Shelton
Drink: Kailua’s Coconut Cruizer, Maui Brewing Co.
“In Kailua town we take our coffee a bit differently with locally made Kōloa coffee rum, hand-whipped cream and of course ice-cold Maui Brewing Co. Coconut Hiwa Porter.” —general manager Shawn Shelton
Drink: La Peachy Perouse, Maui Brewing Co.
This cocktail features La Perouse, one of Maui Brewing’s fruity seasonal beers, and combines it with “peach vodka and double purée of strawberry and peach. A dash of orange bitters rounds out this perfectly flirty and fun beer cocktail.” —general manager Shawn Shelton