My Hawaii Cocktail Week 2013 Drinking Itinerary

— by Caroline on Crack

Hawaii Cocktail Week by Caroline on Crack

Hawaii Cocktail Week by Caroline on Crack

It’s been about 10 years since I’ve been to Oahu, Hawaii, so I still think of it as the land of tourist-grade cocktails. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my share of Lava Flows and Mai Tais and I enjoyed every sip. They are just awesome while taking in a view of Diamond Head. But this week, I’m prepared to have my mind blown as the island kicks off the inaugural Hawaii Cocktail Week and Pacific Sessions. Apparently there’s a bunch of cocktail-serious bars all over the place because there’s a whole week-long cocktail event celebrating the craft cocktail scene there.

However, looking over Hawaii Cocktail Week and Pacific Sessions’ event calendar, it seems pretty sparse compared to 10-year cocktail week stalwart, Tales of the Cocktail. The 35-plus events include tasting rooms, some paired dinners, bartender showcases and a few seminars. Definitely not as much of a booze-infused whirlwind as Tales or as concentrated in one area. Taxi cabs may have to be deployed. But when I was invited by organizer Mike Prasad (MXLGY and Hawaii Bitters Co.) to cover the newbie event, I couldn’t say no. It’s Hawaii after all and even if I do happen to find myself with some downtime I’m sure I will find SOMEthing to do. Poolside Mai Tais, snorkeling and hiking, perchance?

In any case I can’t wait, so for easy reference I’m laying out my drinking itinerary which starts out this Wednesday. (I couldn’t possibly take that many days off from work for a full week, sigh.)  By the way,  if anyone out there has any cocktail bar suggestions in Waikiki or Honolulu with which I can fill in my free time, please send them my way!

Hawaii Cocktail Week Itinerary

Wednesday, February 20

  • 8:30pm Cocktail Paired Dinner at Town

I figured a great way to start my boozy island adventure would be this cocktail paired dinner at Town. Chef/owners Ed Kenney and David Caldeiro will be pairing dishes from their five-course dinner with cocktails featuring Beam Inc. spirits. I’m just hoping they have vegetarian options!

  • 9pm-12am 39Hotel Bartender Showcase at ThirtyNineHotel

This particular bartender showcase is being billed as “the most exciting and dynamic,” probably because it involves flair bartending. The group of featured bartenders, headed by national mixology champ Tobin Ellis, is known for combining flair techniques with actual great drink making. Kai Vodka will be the highlighted spirit and features Hawaii-friendly flavors like lychee, coconut pandan and lemongrass.

Thursday, February 21

  • 11am L.A. Confidential at ThirtyNineHotel

Three of L.A.’s top bartenders (Julian Cox, Matt Biancaniello and Paul Sanguinetti) will be showing off the latest trends and techniques happening in L.A. I know I already get to see these guys enough as it is but it would still be fun to attend this seminar.

  • 5-7pm Cruzan Rum “Don’t Hurry” Catamaran Cruise

A sunset sail with Cruzan Estate Rums? Yes  please! The Catamaran will take guests around Honolulu and ply them with pupus and libations crafted by Hawaii’s own Kyle Reutner of Hawaii Bitters Company.

Friday, February 22

  • **11am-1pm Modern Tiki: A Pirate’s Life for Me! at Moana Surfrider

Julie Reiner (Clover Club, Flat Iron Lounge) and Brian Miller (Death & Co.) will cover the colorful history of Tiki from its humble beginnings to its crafty comeback. They’ll demo how classic cocktails can be “tikified.”

  • 7-10pm Bacardi & The Pacific Sessions Pro/Am

Top bartenders from around the country compete for $1,000 in cash and other prizes at this Bacardi-sponsored showdown.

Saturday, February 23

  • ** 10:30am-1pm Hendricks Tea and Cocktails**

Hendrick’s ambassadors Mark Stoddard and David Piper trace the origins of tea time and suggest tasty enhancements for your cocktails. There will also be a local Hawaiian tea expert to demonstrate the Asian tea ceremony.

  • 2-4pm On Punch – History, Community & Aloha at Loft in Space

Learn the history and varieties of punch, from communal punches to Benjamin Franklin’s milk punches, as well as how to create welcome cocktail punches for parites.