Grind Time: Bourbon on the beach
BY JASON GENEGABUS / email@example.com
The Kahala Hotel and Resort helped get summer off to a great start on Friday, welcoming guests to beachside restaurant Seaside Grill for Blues, Bourbon and Barbeque.
(Yes, we know — Saturday is the actual date for this year’s summer solstice, which traditionally marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere. Close enough, especially here in Hawaii!)
There aren’t many better ways to spend a Friday night than right next to the Pacific Ocean with plenty of food (including dessert!) to go with bourbon tasting and specialty cocktails made to order by Southern Wine and Spirits of Hawaii’s mixology expert, Chandra Lam Lucariello.
Lucariello served up Curious George cocktails, made with banana-infused Booker’s bourbon mixed with cinnamon, ginger, bitters and fresh mint.
It tasted like a grown-up dessert in a glass, with the caramelized banana slice topping the drink adding even more banana flavor to the sweet, oaky flavor of the Booker’s.
Here’s Lucariello with her finished product:
In addition to the Curious George cocktail, guests at Blues, Bourbon and Barbeque were greeted with a drink called Feel the Blues.
Made with Basil Hayden’s bourbon, it was an excellent example of how whiskey doesn’t need to always be served neat (straight in a glass, no mixers) to be enjoyed.
By muddling some fresh mint in a glass with fresh lemon juice and housemade blueberry syrup before adding the Basil Hayden’s, this cocktail was plenty sweet with just the right amount of tartness from the lemon and charred wood undertones from the whiskey.
Once guests had their welcome drink in hand, local blues rocker Tavana was there to give them something they could really feel. As the sun went down over Kahala, some people got up to dance — although more stood in line to enjoy a tasty lineup of barbeque-style food prepared by the Seaside Grill Kitchen.
Friday’s dinner buffet included:
» Grilled Oysters with grilled Hamakua tomato, Maui onion and avocado salsa
» Kansas City-style BBQ baby back ribs with vanilla lilikoi roasted pineapple slaw
» Slow-smoked beef brisket (carved to order)
» Crab and seafood boil with snow crab legs, clams, shrimp, corn, potatoes and mussels
» Creamy grits and BBQ shrimp with sautéed bell peppers, Maui onions and cheese
» Hawaiian-style baked mahi mahi with lup cheong, citrus aioli, shiitake mushrooms and green onions
» Warm spinach salad with crispy prosciutto vinaigrette
» Grilled street corn with garlic herb butter, spiced salt and Manchego cheese
» Spicy chili garlic peanuts with Molokai sea salt
Those wise enough to save room for dessert were rewarded with mini roasted macadamia-pecan apple pies, dark chocolate bourbon truffle cake pops, chocolate-dipped strawberry marshmallows and mini red velvet cupcakes.
Blues, Bourbon and Barbeque is the first in a series of monthly events in celebration of the hotel’s 50th anniversary, designed to be more accessible to guests who want to experience the luxury and atmosphere of the Kahala’s various restaurants without having to spend an extravagant amount of money.
At $50 to $55 per person (before tax and tip), you’re able to get your money’s worth with the buffet/tasting setup. Guests at Friday’s dinner were welcomed to try as much of the six featured bourbons as they wanted, and the buffet line ensured nobody would leave still feeling hungry.
Up next is a special Fourth of July clambake at the Kahala’s Plumeria Beach House from 5:30 to 10 p.m. July 4. Tickets are $55 per person.
On July 11, the Veranda will present Friday Night Flights, a wine and food pairing that will focus on the wine and cuisine of Argentina from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person.
And on July 25, the party returns to Seaside Grill for Toes in the Sand, a rum and cigar event from 6:30 to 9 p.m. with smokes from Nat Sherman and liquor specialist Lucariello on hand to curate a full complement of rum and mix up a few new specialty cocktails for guests. Tickets are $50 per person.
Reservations for all three events are available by calling (808) 739-8760 or emailing the hotel.
“Grind Time” is always looking for the latest places to get your grub on. Email Jason Genegabus with restaurant, bar or any other food/drink-related item at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter and Google+.