Hawaii remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The islands offer a heady combination of pristine beaches, astounding natural beauty, fabulous cultural experiences and accommodation choices that range from 5-star resorts to bungalows on the beach. When the sunset colors the sky over the crystal-clear coastal waters down Hawaii offers even more – some wonderful dining destinations and happy hours at a variety of exceptional watering holes.
However, settling comfortably into a chair and watching the colors play across the darkening sky provides much food for thought among those who choose to take advantage of happy hour on this island paradise. Among the more pressing of issues facing those in search of the perfect liquid refreshment is just what should be enjoyed at this magical time of day.
Of course, there are the old stalwarts, a glass of wine or an ice-cold beer. But for those who really want to enjoy the ‘Aloha’ spirit, there are far more interesting happy hour choices – here are some Hawaiian favorites that will put a smile on your face.
The Classic Mai Tai
This is the tropical island experience in a glass (or coconut or pineapple – your individual experience may vary). The combination of rum. triple (orange Curacao can also be used), lime, almond syrup and grenadine is immensely refreshing without an overwhelming sugar undercurrent. There are some wonderful variants for those who want to experiment. The ‘Blue Hawaii’ which mixes rum and pineapple juice. Or the well-known Pina colada with its creamy delight of rum and cream of coconut adding to the refreshment of pineapple juice. We found some of our favorite Mai Tai’s exploring the island of Maui top Happy Hours.
The Lava Flow
A salute to the volcanic nature of the Hawaiian Islands this drink is available in several variations. The major talking point is whether you add light rum or the well-known Malibu coconut rum. The Malibu version should be preferred. But if Malibu rum is not available a dash of coconut cream is often substituted.
Want a drink that combines the laid-back attitude of the islands with the excitement and vibrancy of Mexico – if so, the Chi-Chi is the happy hour drink for you. The wonderful fresh Hawaiian pineapple juice combines with tequila, grenadine and orange liqueur to provide a drink that has depths of flavor – and packs a kick like a mule. Best enjoyed in moderation. It can be found in most Waikiki bars where it has gained a measure of fame.
The Hawaiian Margarita
Mexico may lay claim to the original Margherita – but Hawaii claims that is has perfected the Margherita with the happy hour island favorite – the Hawaiian Margarita. The addition of passionfruit (lilikoi) is what makes this drink sing of the tropics. Forget that salt-encrusted rim – the Hawaiian version substitutes red ‘li hing mui’ powder. This powder is made from the ground skin of plums. It’s pickled with licorice, salt and sugar (with some red food coloring). The result is tart and fruity, with a salty tang that is hard to beat.
Happy hour in Hawaii becomes even more special when you indulge in an island-style refreshment – make sure you place your order – and get into the true Hawaiian way of enjoying yourself.