Do images of little drink umbrellas, orchid flower garnishes and skewers of pineapple in a tropical cocktail pop into your head when you dream of Maui? The quintessential tropical drink served up in a Tiki glass or carved out pineapple is what comes to mind when I think of tropical cocktails. In today’s post we explore 5 tropical cocktails you must try when visiting Maui for the first time or tenth time (and I can assure you that the ‘research and development‘ needed for this post was great fun!)
We’ve already explored the yummy Mai Tai in a previous post and let our readers know who we think serves up the best on the South Shore if not all of Maui and we’re going to revisit it briefly again in today’s post.
In no particular order…
The humble yet delicious Piña Colada. While it’s origins don’t stem from the Hawai’ian Islands, it’s comfortably made itself at home here in our little tropical archipelago and we welcome it with true Aloha!
The piña colada (from the Spanish words: piña or “pineapple,” and colada “strained“) is a sweet cocktail made with rum, coconut cream or coconut milk, and pineapple juice, usually served either blended or shaken with ice. It may be garnished with either a pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry, or both. The piña colada has been the national drink of Puerto Rico since 1978, but we don’t think Puerto Rico will mind if we borrow it.
Piña Colada Recipe (Our revised version of Kōloa’s recipe)
- 2 oz Kōloa Kaua`i white (or coconut rum – or use 1 oz each of white and gold or dark for a more flavorful colada)
- 2 oz Frozen Hawaiian Sun Coconut Milk
- 2 oz pineapple juice (preferably fresh) + a few frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 cup crushed ice
Blend or shake and pour into a suitable glass and garnish with pineapple and cherry, little umbella or tropical flower.
Next up is the Blue Hawaii. The Blue Hawaii is a tropical cocktail made of rum, pineapple juice, blue Curaçao, sweet and sour mix, and sometimes vodka as well.
The Blue Hawaii was invented in 1957 by Harry Yee, legendary head bartender of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, Hawaii when a sales representative of Dutch distiller Bols asked him to design a drink that featured their blue color of Curaçao liqueur. After experimenting with several variations he settled on a version somewhat different from the most popular version today, but with the signature blue color, pineapple wedge, and cocktail umbrella.
Blue Hawaii Recipe (our revised version of the Food Network’s recipe)
- 1 oz. Ocean Vodka
- 1/2 oz. blue curaco
- 1/2 oz. Kōloa coconut flavored rum
- 2 oz. pineapple juice
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and mix vigorously. Stop when the shaker is too cold to hold. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with (of course) a drink umbrella and/or pineapple skewer.
The Chi Chi has a loyal island following and it’s easy to see why.
The not-so-distant cousin of the Piña Colada resembles the basic make-up of Puerto Rico’s national drink, while exchanging rum for vodka. The Chi Chi’s history is a little vague but was likely first invented shortly after the Piña Colada made its first debut. The Chi Chi gained it’s immense popularity in 1970s and ‘80s but still has it’s loyal following.
Chi Chi Recipe
- 3 oz. Pau Maui Vodka
- 4 oz. Pineapple Juice
- 2 oz. Frozen Hawaiian Sun Coconut Milk (available at Foodland)
- 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup or 1 tsp powdered sugar
Blend on high, pour into suitable cocktail glasses and garnish with pineapple spear or orchid flower.
TIP- Freeze pineapple juice in ice cube trays for a super frozen concoction!
* A twist on the Chi Chi recipe is to add one ounce of Passionfruit syrup in replacement of the simple syrup! Yum!
We look next at another twist on our favorite Piña Colada recipe, the Lava Flow – imagine the Piña Colada married with fresh strawberries and you get the Lava Flow. Decadent!
Our recipe today comes from Mixologist, Joey Gottesman of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki.
Royal Hawaiian Lava Flow
Muddle in the bottom of a Boston shaker glass:
- 2 fresh strawberries
- 1-2 in. slice of banana (use one of Maui’s famous Strawberry Bananas if you can find them)
- Fill shaker glass with ice and then add:
- 1 oz. Frozen Hawaiian Sun Coconut Milk
- 1 oz. pineapple juice
- 1.5 oz. Old Lahaina Rum (or other golden rum)
Cover with top of the Boston shaker, shake vigorously. Pour into a hurricane glass. Garnish pineapple wedge and paper parasol. Enjoy.
TIP – The key to preparation is to muddle the strawberries separately from the other ingredients.
And finally we get to our favorite, the Mai Tai. Now, a few weeks ago I wrote about our favorite restaurant to saddle up at the bar and have a delicious Mai Tai so I know that I can’t top this recipe. I’ll just share it again here. Make your own or head to Monkeypod and have one of theirs.
Monkeypod Mai Tai Recipe
- 1 oz. Old Lahaina Light Rum
- 1 oz. Old Lahaina Dark Rum
- 1/2 oz. macadamia-nut orgeat
- 1/2 oz. Marie Brizard Orange Curaçao
- 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
Honey Liliko‘i Foam
- 1/2 oz. honey
- 1 oz. liliko‘i purée
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- 1 oz. egg whites
- 1.5 oz. cold water
Mix foam ingredients well and put in a nitrous-oxide (NO2) infuser* to half capacity. Use 4 charges for a liter-sized infuser. (Or blend ingredients on high speed till foamy.) Add lime juice, orgeat (a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water), orange curaçao and Old Lahaina Light Rum to mixing glass. Shake with 1 cup cubed ice about 30 seconds and pour into highball glass. Float dark rum. Top with honey-liliko‘i foam and garnish with pineapple half moon.
*also known as a ‘Whipped Cream Dispenser‘ , widely available on Amazon.
None of these 5 drinks strike your fancy? How about trying one of these tropical drinks?
Bay Breeze – cranberry, pineapple, vodka
Tropical Itch – bourbon, rum, curacao, lemon juice, passionfruit puree, bitters
Mango or Lilikoi Mojito – passionfruit/mango puree, lemon/lime juice, sugar, mint, club soda
Lilikoi Martini – vodka, passionfruit juice shaken
Daiquiri – rum, lime juice and sugar syrup
Maui Mule – vodka, pineapple, lime juice, Pimm’s No. 1, Ginger Beer
Have a favorite drink that you enjoy on the island? Leave us a note in the comments below and let us know!
Looking for more Maui vacation ideas? Lots of things to see and do,