Bourbon is the new Vodka. And the Old-Fashioned is the new Martini,
thanks in no small part to Don Draper, the ultra-charming, lady-killing
creative director from AMC’s Mad Men that’s helped make it popular again.
Yet, it’s no real surprise that the current brown liquor trend hasn’t quite
made its way to Hawaii, the sun-drenched shore that made the Mai Tai
world-famous. But, even though it’s considered to be the original cocktail
drink and therefore the founding member of the canon, it’s tough to find a
proper Old-Fashioned in Honolulu unless you know where to look. Join me
for a round of the Sippin’ 5 Old-Fashioned Cocktails in Hawaii:
Now, when you order an Old-Fashioned, it’s best to keep it
straightforward and simple. Old school. The classic bar at BLT, the chic
steakhouse at the Trump Hotel Waikiki is a perfect place to start. And
it’s the first stop on my hunt for the perfect Old-Fashioned. Once I noticed
that they had Bulleit Bourbon (my fave) behind the counter, I knew I was
in good hands. I ordered up and waited patiently. Upon first sip, I was
pleasantly surprised by the execution; it was strong, rich, with just the right
amount of ice. Well done.
BLT is located in the Trump Hotel Waikiki at 223 Saratoga Rd. www.bltsteak.com 808.683.7440.
Stop number two on my local search for the perfect Old-Fashioned took
me to the Lobby Bar at the new Waikiki Edition Hotel. There, I ran into
Boston transplant mixologist Sam Treadway who was brought in specifically
to help open the bar at this luxe boutique hotel. And, once I discovered
that we had a shared love of bourbon, I immediately felt at ease. While I
sipped, we chatted for a bit discussing the finer points of brown liquor. His
version of the Old-Fashioned was classic and impressive topped with two
gourmet Italian Marasaca cherries, the original and real Maraschino. I was
in complete cocktail heaven. If you go, ask for Sam. Trust me, he won’t disappoint.
The Lobby Bar is located at the Waikiki Edition Hotel at 1775 Ala Moana Blvd. www.editionhotels.com 808.943.5800.
Sometimes, you need some dark mood lighting and a live jazz trio to
accompany your Old-Fashioned evening. I understand. If the urge ever
strikes you, consider frequenting this timeless lounge tucked away in the
lobby of the Halekulani Hotel. Dale DeGroff, known as the “King of the
Cocktail”, has created a menu of exclusive signature cocktails for your
sipping pleasure. But Bar Manager Tim Rita and team also have the chops to
deliver the canon with style and class. Don’t be afraid to saunter up to the
bar and order an Old-Fashioned as a nightcap. It’s fantastic. When you go,
just make sure you dress the part: Collared shirts and slacks for gentlemen,
evening attire for ladies.
Hankering for something laid back, ultra-cool and a bit unexpected? Then
I’d recommend paying a visit to 39 Hotel, a hipster multi-use art/bar/club
venue located in the heart of Hotel St. in Honolulu’s resurgent Chinatown.
One of the simple, enduring pleasures of living in the Aloha State is living
life al fresco. So why not spend a balmy tropical Hawaiian evening on 39’s
outdoor lanai with a classic Old-Fashioned as your trusty co-pilot? They
do a mean one. And, along the way, if you fancy ordering a round or two
that’s lighter and more tropical, they have an impressive menu of “greatest
hits” Classic Cocktails: Mai Tai, Margarita, Mojito, Caipiriniha and Pisco
Sour as well as an intriguing offering of “new school” Signature Cocktails:
Asian Delicacy, Eight O Eight, Rose Collins, Late Night and Hawaii 39. Next
round is on me.
39 Hotel is located at 39 N.Hotel St. www.thirtyninehotel.com 808.599.2552.
The Lodge at Koele:
Ready for an old-fashioned stay-cation to wash away your everyday City
cares? Look no further than the Four Seasons Lana’i, Lodge
at Koele. This is truly the very best that the Pineapple Isle has to offer.
While you’re there, be sure to snuggle up with an Old-Fashioned at the
warm, wooden, old-world charm of the Tea Room Bar and spend a chilly
evening conjuring up a simpler time, a simpler Hawaii right at the turn of
the century. At The Lodge at Koele, world-class, five-star service has never
felt so effortless. Happy sippin’!