What Would Hawai‘i’s Top Bartenders Choose as Their Final Drink on Earth?
We asked Honolulu cocktail experts to tell us what they’d want for that very last call.
Every year we venture out to research our Restaurant Guide, eating and drinking across the state to put together this special edition. Somebody’s got to do it. For the Where Chefs Eat issue, we also asked bartenders and other beverage experts to tell us what they’d want for their last drink on Earth. We got so many great answers that we couldn’t fit them all in our print magazine. Read some here and more last drink choices in March when the Restaurant Guide hits newsstands and at shop.honolulumagazine.com. Subscribe to the print and digital editions now.
For many bar experts, a classic Old Fashioned would be the last drink they’d order.
Co-founder of Bar Leather Apron, named as a best bar in America by Esquire
Drink: “Last drink for me would be Hakushu 12-year and soda water.”
Back story: “It’s just my favorite whisky combined with soda water, which is bubbly and refreshing.”
Director of wine education/on-premise sales manager, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Hawai‘i
Drink: “I normally don’t do shots, but my imminent demise seems like the best time to swig some liquor straight from the bottle. I’d choose Fortaleza Reposado tequila. I’m hoping there is an afterlife and that I’m going to the good place, where I could drink a never-ending supply of wines that are too expensive for me in this life, like Noel Verset’s Cornas, Champagne Salon and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Either way I’m going kicking and screaming. There are too many things I still want to do and too many people I love.”
Back story: “Super drinkable but still actually tastes like agave. It brings back memories of some nights I can’t remember with people I can’t forget.”
Pint + Jigger/Harry’s Hardware Emporium
Drink: “When I really, really thought about it, I decided that it should be a mai tai and a shitty one at that.”
Back story: “Hear me out. I have swimming around in my brain the fetus of a book called My Life In Four Shitty Mai Tais because I can look back over my career and point to four specific times when a shitty mai tai pointed me in the direction of my next step. So maybe change the title to My Life In Five Shitty Mai Tais and have the very last chapter be this conversation!”
Drink: “A Negroni.”
Back story: Bussler recalled a time when he was tasting so much wine for work that he felt his liquor palate was shot. “The only thing I wanted to drink was a Negroni or a Miller High Life.”
Fête co-owner and chef
Drink: “A French 75.”
Back story: “So you can get your bubbles and the gin at the same time; bubbles and gin, gin and bubbles.”
Last Call Tradition at Harry’s Hardware Emporium
At Harry's Hardware Emporium, everyone in the bar near closing time gets milk and fresh-baked cookies.
When owner Dave Newman was traveling in New York City, he went to a bar called Employees Only that served chicken noodle soup to signal last call. He was so impressed by the idea of a special last-call tradition to nudge people out the door that when he came home to Honolulu, he started his last-call tradition of milk and cookies.
Back story: “It is a little too hot for year-round soup,” Newman says. “But there is something incredibly comforting about a straight-out-of-the-oven warm chocolate chip cookie that just can’t be beat.” Harry's and sister establishment Pint + Jigger are facing their own last calls as the owner is taking back the building, and Newman is looking for a new place. Harry's last night will be March 24 and Pint on March 27, he says.