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Sep 24, 2011 11:31 AM

Great / artisanal / handmade / mixology cocktails in Maui?

I did a search and I guess this topic has never been discussed (I found threads on Oahu and the big island).

Looking for great cocktails in Maui. We will probably have a car and be able to drive around, but we're thinking of staying in Kihei, and closer is obviously better.

I'd love to find a place that uses good ice (like Kold Draft), measures with jiggers, and uses good ingredients. I'm thinking nicer brands of liquor, freshly squeezed juices (not sour mix), and hopefully their own syrups/etc instead of bottled grenadine, orgeat, etc. Along the lines of (or maybe a notch down from) PDT/Death & Co/Milk & Honey/Pegu Club in NYC, Violet Hour/Sable in Chicago, Drink in Boston, Passenger Bar/The Gibson in DC, etc. We're willing to pay a premium for quality and balanced non-sugary drinks (maybe up to $15-17).

Can be tropically themed or not. In fact, my husband is a tiki buff, but we're not really expecting to find a place w/ great tiki atmosphere AND great non-sugary drinks, since it's hard to find that on the Mainland, and tiki is more of a Mainland invention.

How is Fairmont Kea Lani's cocktails? They look great:

Or Mama's Fish House?

Mama's Fish House
Paia HI, Paia, HI

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  1. I would suggest:

    Merriman's Kapalua
    One Bay Club Place
    Lahaina, Maui
    "Locavore Specialty Cocktails" Locally sourced ingredients, juices are extracted from local fruits, mint basil from their own garden, etc. Our favorite place for dinner/cocktails on Maui. Cliffside oceanfront location with fire ring at oceanfront point, near Kapalua Resort. A must stop. Peter Merrriman is a leader in the Hawaiian Regional Cusine, farm to table concept. We have always enjoyed our meals both there and in Waimea on the Island of Hawaii.

    Other dinner suggestions:

    Bev Gannon's
    Hali'imaile General Store
    900 Hali'imaile Road
    Makawao, Maui
    pinapple upsidown cake a specialty. Visit Makawao town, specialty shops, Komoda's bakery, famous for cream puffs and jelly donuts.

    David Paul's Island Grill
    900 Front Street
    Lahaina, Maui

    505 Front Street
    Lahaina, Maui
    You'll find most of these on Open Table, convenient given the New York time difference.

    Kula Lodge
    15200 Haleakala Drive
    Kula, Maui
    Quaint lodge for breakfast,wood fired pizza, spectacular 100 year old garden, views. Make a right our of their lot, go to the end, see farmstand with outrageous strawberries, vegetables and flowers.

    89 Hana Highway
    Pa'ia, Maui
    Pizza for lunch.

    Mamma's is not a prioritychoice, imho, where we woud go for the view, not the food. We found the food at Kea Lani to be a disappointment, the cocktails were not memorable.

    Have a great trip. I'd love to hear your reviews.

    E Komo Mai


    Kula Lodge & Restaurant
    15200 Haleakala Hwy, Kula, HI 96790

    505 Front Street Shops & Restaurants
    , Lahaina, HI 96761

    Merriman's Kapalua
    1 Bay Dr, Lahaina, HI 96761

    David Paul's Island Grill
    900 Front St Ste A101, Lahaina, HI 96761

    2 Replies
    1. re: MRG58

      Great list! I would also suggest the Alaloa Bar at the Ritz Carlton, very nice cocktail list.

      Ritz Carlton
      Maui, HI, Maui, HI

      1. re: MRG58

        Thanks! We're not going for a few months but I figured I'd start researching now!

      2. Hawaii is all about sugary drinks, not Manhattan or Los Angels style cocktails. Three of the four cocktails at the Kea Lani in that article are sugary drinks.

        3 Replies
        1. re: scottca075

          So these threads are wrong?

          I don't mind a fruity cocktail that has simple syrup in it (some tiki drinks are sweet but still balanced) but I don't want an apple-tini.

          1. re: kathryn

            I guess sugary is a matter of getting the definition right. All the places mentioned in the thread you reference specialize in what I would call sugary drinks because they are mostly rum based. I think of an apple-tini being more tart than sweet.

            The ice is generally really good in Maui because the water source is pretty pure.

            While I am not a fan of the TS Restaurants (Duke's, Hula Grill, Leilani's & Kimo's) for dinner, I do love them for lunch or Happy Hour and they have a pretty good drink menu that includes a lot of vodka drinks.


            1. re: scottca075

              I don't mind rum based drinks as long as they are balanced with enough citrus... I like my daiquiris to be 2 oz rum, 3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime, and 3/4 oz simple syrup. For the tropical drinks I usually go with Beachbum Berry's recipes. Fruity and rum does not always mean sugary or out of balance.

              Thanks for the links, not a vodka fan. Looking to avoid places with too many vodka drinks and the "-tini" suffix for every drink name on the menu.

        2. What about South Shore Tiki Lounge? Any recent reports?

          South Shore Tiki Lounge
          1913 S Kihei Rd Ste L, Kihei, HI 96753

          1. Check out Monkeypod Kitchen too, they have a pretty impressive bar.

            1. Kathryn,

              I am a fellow cocktail enthusiast and found your thread when I was wondering the exact same thing. Where can I find craft cocktails when I visit Maui in a couple of weeks. We have the same taste in bars. I am looking for somewhere with a good authentic Mai Tai (crushed ice/real orgeat/good rum/etc.) But I am also looking for good craft cocktails incorporating the local ingredients. I am wondering if you found any places that you really liked when you were there. Drop some science on me.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dschlachty

                The only place we tried and liked was Monkeypod Kitchen (but not all drinks there are equally good). Mama's Fish House had drinks that were only OK. Hali'imaile General Store actually served us something with a local rum that tasted oddly; they replaced it and the server said it happened quite often. The rum tastes a bit rubbery/plasticky. Lahaina Grill was decent but not great.

                Lots of free pouring in Maui and very few bartenders taste their creations before sending them out.

                If you're in a condo, bring some shakers, a barspoon, and jiggers, and make your own.

                Our trip report: