Written by Kitty Bradshaw:
While here in Hawaii for six weeks, I have visited a few drinking establishments to get a healthy feel of what Hawaii has to offer in wine & spirits. One of my goals has been to find a big over-the-top, touristy Mai-Tai in some sort of pineapple or coconut shell. So far, I haven’t come across a bar that serves the specific drink I have in mind… but along the way, I have discovered some real gems that will appeal to most social drinkers.
1. Bacchus: Black Rum Mai Tai
My adventures start at Bacchus for their Black Rum Mai Tai. I learned during my years of living in New York that the best drinks can always be found at the local gay bars. If you aren’t a homophobe, feel free to stop on in; and of course everyone is welcome especially if you’re a tipper. I was first introduced to the Black Rum Mai Tai by former employee Hunter, who sadly moved to India two days after our initial meeting. In memory of his excellent bartending skills, I will try to visit this location every Thursday at 4:30 pm to drink in his honor for the duration of my trip. Good bartenders are hard to come by J
So anyways the back to drinks. The Black Rum Mai Tai is the thing liquor filled dreams are made of. It has 2 types of rum in it, with an extra heaping for good measure. It seems like every establishment in Hawaii makes Mai Tais, but the Bacchus Black Rum version is the best I have had so far. Not to mention the festive patrons in the background… I absolutely love visiting this bar and you will too!
Baccahus Waikiki: 408 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815
2. & 3. Modern Hotel: The Ginger Kitty & Huckleberry Fin
The downstairs private bar inside of the Modern Hotel is home to one awesome bartender, Jason Maxwell. He and Newman over at Pint + Jiggers (more on him later) are two of Waikiki’s best in bartending. Maxwell named a drink after me, “The Ginger Kitty”, so of course it made my list of top drinks in Waikiki. The Modern Hotel also makes a drink called the Huckleberry Fin cocktail with raspberry Infused Grey Goose that they make in house. While at the bar, be sure to say hello to Brennan who is also happy to make you drinks.
Off Topic: out of all my travels, The Modern Hotel has one of the top 10 bathrooms I have ever seen. If you pay them a visit, check out the upstairs bathroom near the pool.
Modern Hotel: 1775 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815
4. Yard House: Rose Gaarden
I am not a beer drinker, but I was persuaded by my military friend to try the beer at the Yard House on Waikiki. While there, I had the “Rose Gaarden”, which is one of their specialty blended beers. It combines both Hoegaarden White & Framboise beer. The combination together reminds me of a raspberry version of ginger beer without being too fruity, and it actually is real beer (not soda). The raspberry flavoring cuts down on the acidic beer taste. If you are someone who is not a fan of beer, you will appreciate this.
Yard House: 226 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815
5. Pint + Jigger: Whiskey, Apple Juice, topped off with Ginger Beer
Pint + Jigger is a gastropub that specializes in bacon. Ok, bacon has nothing to do with cocktails, but I cannot mention this establishment without mentioning the best bacon I’ve had in my life. I will do a food review in the next week or so. Now as this article applies to wine and spirits; Pint + Jigger’s claim to fame is Beers and Whiskey. Unfortunately, I have not gotten close enough to the lead bartender and part owner, Dave Newman, to speak directly to him about his Whiskey selection (I had to Google his name). The first night was extremely busy, and during the 2nd visit we had another bartender serving us. Newman is what I refer to as a “Liquor Whisperer”… he is freaking amazing! I came in off the streets with a simple request, “Whiskey, Apple Juice, topped off with Ginger Beer”. Without flinching he said, “ok”. He immediately went for the bourbon! I am not 100% sure, but I think he used Knob Creek or maybe it was Bulleit?! Listen, don’t judge me I was just so excited that he had all of the ingredients. Most bars don’t carry apple juice and ginger beer. Pint + Jigger only carries high quality ingredients; and a lot of their produce is sourced locally. You cannot leave Honolulu without visiting them.
Pint + Jigger: 1936 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96826
In conclusion, whether you are into beer, cocktails, or standalone hard liquor… the above locations will take care of all your needs. If you have visited the area, please let us know your favorites.
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