Local Hawaiian Rums and Tropical Cocktails

A recent Beach Villa Resort guest, asked us about the local Hawaiian Rum scene. I never really thought about locally produced rums before. Mai Tai's are kind of ubiquitous around here, being the local drink and all, so you never stop to think where the rum comes from.

So after researching the local rum scene for our guest, I thought I would share my discoveries. So enjoy a Mai Tai, Lava Flow, Tropical Itch, Rum Runner, Zombie or other Hawaiian Tropical Cocktail created with a locally produced Hawaiian rum while on vacation at the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina, Hawaii.

As always, please drink responsibly!

If you would like to make your own cocktails while watching a sunset or ten, we provide the glasses, blenders and cocktail recipes in the kitchen of your villa. Costco sells various rums and Target and Safeway also sell the needed ingredients to make your own Mai Tai's or other tropical libations.

Koloa, a dark rum from Kaua'i, Hawaii was the first rum brand that sounded promising.

Their product is produced in Kaua'i, Hawaii using sugar supplied by Gay & Robinson Sugar Plantation. Gay & Robinson has subsequently shut down so before Koloa runs out of sugar, they will be looking to work with small local growers. Sugar production has all but stopped in Hawaii so hopefully Koloa's business will continue to grow and support local farmers.

According to the write up:
This rum has a bold, rich flavor with tropical undertones and a deep mahogany color.

A nose of Vanilla, crème brûlée, cola and spice.
The initial taste is rich caramel, warm molasses
and honey leading to bright vanilla and toffee flavors. The finish is warm and smooth for a rum
of this young age.

The Koloa dark rum won a Gold Award at the RumXP International Competition at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. However, there were only two entrants in the dark rum category so this may not mean anything.

Well, I stand corrected as Koloa just won a Bronze in the White Rum category, a Gold in the Gold Rum category and a Silver in the Dark rum category at the March 2010 Rum festival. They competed against 42 other producers from around the world.

If you give the Koloa or any of the other rums a try, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this blog as to how you liked it.

Koloa purchased their production facility from the Tateishi family which has produced hand made jams, jellies and syrups since 1931 using hand picked local fruits. The company continues to produce the Kukui brand, honoring the Tateishi family.

The Koloa company produces a white, gold, dark and spiced rums, as well as a Mai Tai mix.

Maui Dark Rum from Maui, Hawaii was another rum brand that I came across.

It is an inexpensive rum that makes a fine base for bold tropical drinks such as Mai Tai's and Zombies.

Maui Dark Rum is produced on Haleakala Ranch using Maui sugarcane molasses and purified Maui water. Haleakala Ranch is a 30,000 acre ranch that borders the Haleakala National Park.

The bottle comes with a miniature lei around the neck as shown in the photo.

Tasting notes suggest that it is a really smooth rum with a nice finish. Much smoother than expected considering that the rum is not aged. It doesn't have a lot of depth for sipping however, but it makes a great tropical drink.

Old Lahaina rum from Maui, Hawaii is a rum brand that I came across at the Island Country Markets in Ko Olina. See the Island Country Markets blog entry for directions.

Old Lahaina rum is produced in Maui's historic plantation town of Paia, Hawaii using sugar supplied by HC&S. HC&S produces some of the finest raw sugar in the world.

Old Lahaina rum is located in the old HC&S sugar mill where the father and son team spent three years constructing the distillery. They have two steam-fired 500 gallon Badger "pot stills" that were originally built for the New England Rum Company in 1946. This is really cool.

You may have seen HC&S "Sugar in the raw" products in the brown box at stores on the mainland. However, I have noticed that the latest "Sugar in the Raw" boxes have changed their wording from 100% Hawaiian Cane sugar to just 100% Cane Sugar so I hope that doesn't mean HC&S has stopped growing sugar cane.

I have a call into the folks on Maui to verify if HC&S is still in production. In the mean time, If you know, please leave a comment at the bottom of the blog.

Old Lahaina crafts three different rums, a Silver, Gold and a Dark. The Silver according to their website is good for drinks like Mai Tai's as the Silver does not have a strong rum flavor which allows the fruit notes of the tropical drinks to come through. The Gold has a superb mouth feel and is good straight up. The Dark is the perfect topper for your very own Mai Tai with great floating properties. It has a deep molasses and vanilla flavor.

Old Lahaina just won it's first award, at the March 2010 Rum festival. A Bronze Award for both their Gold and Dark rums. They just started distribution in February of 2010 so their first award came pretty quickly. They competed against 42 other producers from around the world.

"So great job to both Koloa and Old Lahaina for competing against some really tough famous and not so famous rum producers and coming out on top. This bodes well for our new cottage industry of local rum distillers."

Mai Tai

Here's a popular version of the traditional Mai Tai from the "Mai Tai" Bar located on the beach at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki. The Royal Hawaiian just completed an $85 million dollar renovation and the "Pink Palace" probably looks the same now as when Victor Bergeron created the original Mai Tai recipe and brought it to the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Hotels in Hawaii in the early 1950's. If you can believe it, back then those hotels along with the Surfrider made up all of Waikiki!

1 oz. Dark Rum (Koloa, Old Lahaina or Maui Dark)
1 oz. Light rum (Koloa or Old Lahaina Silver)
1 oz. Orange Curacao
3 oz. Orange Juice and/or Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
1 oz. Orgeat (*Use something good like Monin Almond Syrup.)
Dash Grenadine or **POG

*Second choice, Finest Call. A distant third choice, Fee Brother’s. The quality of the Orgeat is important.

**POG is Pineapple, Orange and Guava Juice mixed together. You can buy it pre-made at any grocery store in Hawaii including Safeway, Target & Costco, all located one exit away in Kapolei.

Pour all of the ingredients into a glass in the order listed above. Stir and garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry. As an extra special treat, put the Mai Tai in a hollowed out pineapple like they do at the Royal Hawaiian hotel.

So come enjoy a drink with us and create your next cocktail in your fully equipped luxurious vacation villa at the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii. Take a sip as you watch the sun set into the blue green waters off of your sandy beach, another perfect day in paradise. It would be our pleasure.

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices.

The Ko Olina Resort is located 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and just over a half-hour’s drive from downtown. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been to our beautiful resort. Click HERE for reservations


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