Mai Tais and Music in Waikiki, Oahu

Mai Tais are the most popular drinks at many hotels and resorts in Waikiki. Here is a recipe for the drink that you can make at home.

Ilikea's Mai Tai from the Wai'olu Ocean View Lounge at Trump International Hotel Waikik.i Photo- Trump International Hotel Waikiki
Ilikea’s Mai Tai from the Wai’olu Ocean View Lounge at Trump International Hotel Waikiki. Photo- Trump International Hotel Waikiki

I was born and raised on Oahu. But I just can’t help myself; when I come home to Honolulu, I head straight for the ocean and dive in. Then I dry off, order up a Mai Tai and watch the orange sun slowly color the ocean to gold and wait for the green flash when it dips his head under the Pacific.

Purists tell me, “The Mai Tai isn’t even a Hawaiian drink.” To that I always answer that the only truly Hawaiian drink is awa, a ceremonial pounded or chewed root, and you aren’t going to stick an umbrella and orchid in it.

I have several favorite spots I want to share with you to enjoy a Mai Tai and music. I love each of them for a different reason. So grab your suit, a change of clothes and “holo holo” with me to chase the sunset and listen to some of the best music in Hawaii.

Chic Sip: Trump International Waikiki Hotel is a relative newcomer to the scene. From their elegant sixth-floor Wai’olu Ocean View Lounge you can try their Bacardi award-winning version of a Mai Tai (recipe is included here) Called Ilikea’s Mai Tai. Drinks are top-tier, pupu delicious and the sunset is spectacular looking Ewa direction over towards the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort and Fort DeRussy beach to the ocean. They have served over thirty thousand of these so far. The hotel has just received the prestigious five star award for excellence by Forbes so they have the service covered, and the music and the international people there will be beautiful. Wear your high-heeled sandals and a pretty dress. Music varies from Hawaiian to contemporary each evening.

Hawaii sunset by Kurt Winner

Perfect Beach Views: The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is a full-service resort with many facets. I like to plant myself in the lanai area of the Tropics Bar & Grill at the Ali’i Tower, a hotel within the hotel, well before the visitors have had time to shower and change. People watching is at its finest and soon the music sets the tone for the sunset. You might find Henry Kapono a popular Hawaiian signer accompanying your sunset, but certainly order the Village Mai Tai off the HHV Classic Hawaii menu. Layers of carmel colored rums and juices are topped off most appropriately with a premium rum float and the prerequisite orchid and pineapple garnish. Stick a straw in me, I am done.Hawaiian-Style: Kani Ka Pila Grille in the Outrigger Reef On The Beach is steps from the Halekulani (another fave of mine is their House Without a Key). Although the venue itself is not on the beach, the Kani Ka Pila Grille serves up delicious local-style food along with live Hawaiian music every night. We call these shared bites pupu, so order several plates to enjoy tapas-style.The food and drinks are reasonable by Waikiki standards and very good. Up your local vibe and pick up a flower lei to wear or to give away at Aunty Bellas Lei Stand on Kalakaua Avenue in front of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, but get there early for a table near the band. The beauty of this place is that it is one of the last places in Waikiki the locals feel at home. They come to relax and listen to the best of the Hawaiian music scene and many get up to dance an impromptu hula. You will love it.

Hawaiian-Style: Kani Ka Pila Grille in the Outrigger Reef On The Beach is steps from the Halekulani (another fave of mine is their House Without a Key). Although the music venue itself is not on the beach, the Kani Ka Pila Grille serves up delicious local-style food along with live Hawaiian music every night. We call these shared bites pupu, so order several plates to enjoy tapas-style.The food and drinks are reasonable by Waikiki standards and very good. Up your local vibe and pick up a flower lei to wear or to give away at Aunty Bellas Lei Stand on Kalakaua Avenue in front of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, but get there early for a table near the band. The beauty of this place is that it is one of the last places in Waikiki the locals feel at home. They come to relax and listen to the best of the Hawaiian music scene and many get up to dance an impromptu hula. You will love it.

Casual Elegance Options: Not in Waikiki but just around Diamond Head by car, you’ll pass the Diamond Head Lighthouse and lookout. Take Kahala Avenue to the end and you’ll be at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. The Kahala is a genteel place, a favorite of Jack Lord who used to live next door, and many kings, business titans and rock stars. I always get the best feeling dropping my car at the front with the valet and waltzing through the open air lobby to stand and marvel at the thousands of pieces of beach glass in the lobby chandeliers before making my way to a table in The Veranda lounge for live piano jazz weeknights and Hawaiian Music on Saturdays and Sundays. Sit alfresco on the open terrace and enjoy views of the beach and ocean while listening to music and sipping one of their apres sunset Mai Tais with pupu, or head down to oceanfront Plumeria Beach House for a sunset dinner. You can always start with a Mai Tai here, watch the sun go down and listen only to the music of the waves on the sand. Simply check the venues online to decide.

Wai'olu Ocean View Lounge: Ilikea's Mai Tai
 
Mai Tais are the most popular drinks at many hotels and resorts in Waikiki. Here is the Trump International Waikiki Hotel Bacardi award-winner from you can make at home.
Author:
Recipe Type: cocktail
Cuisine: Polynesian
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 oz Bacardi 8
  • ½ oz DiSarono Amaretto
  • ¼ oz Domain de Canton Ginger Liquor
  • ¾ oz homemade Kaffir Lime-Orange Syrup*
  • ½ oz Perfect Puree Caramelized Pineapple Concentrate
  • ¾ oz fresh Lime Juice
Instructions
  1. Shake and pour into highball glass
  2. Layer with ½ oz Bacardi Select
  3. Top with Pineapple Bacardi Gold sorbet
  4. Garnish, Pineapple Wedge and Orchid
  5. *Steep 20 kaffir leaves in water, simmer very low for ten minutes.
  6. After water is fragrant, make simple syrup with equal parts kaffir, water and sugar.
  7. Simmer syrup with peel from one orange for about 20 minutes.
 

 

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Mai Tais and Music in Waikiki, Oahu

Mai Tais are the most popular drinks at many hotels and resorts in Waikiki. Here is a recipe for the drink that you can make at home.

Ilikea's Mai Tai from the Wai'olu Ocean View Lounge at Trump International Hotel Waikik.i Photo- Trump International Hotel Waikiki
Ilikea’s Mai Tai from the Wai’olu Ocean View Lounge at Trump International Hotel Waikiki. Photo- Trump International Hotel Waikiki

I was born and raised on Oahu. But I just can’t help myself; when I come home to Honolulu, I head straight for the ocean and dive in. Then I dry off, order up a Mai Tai and watch the orange sun slowly color the ocean to gold and wait for the green flash when it dips his head under the Pacific.

Purists tell me, “The Mai Tai isn’t even a Hawaiian drink.” To that I always answer that the only truly Hawaiian drink is awa, a ceremonial pounded or chewed root, and you aren’t going to stick an umbrella and orchid in it.

I have several favorite spots I want to share with you to enjoy a Mai Tai and music. I love each of them for a different reason. So grab your suit, a change of clothes and “holo holo” with me to chase the sunset and listen to some of the best music in Hawaii.

Chic Sip: Trump International Waikiki Hotel is a relative newcomer to the scene. From their elegant sixth-floor Wai’olu Ocean View Lounge you can try their Bacardi award-winning version of a Mai Tai (recipe is included here) Called Ilikea’s Mai Tai. Drinks are top-tier, pupu delicious and the sunset is spectacular looking Ewa direction over towards the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort and Fort DeRussy beach to the ocean. They have served over thirty thousand of these so far. The hotel has just received the prestigious five star award for excellence by Forbes so they have the service covered, and the music and the international people there will be beautiful. Wear your high-heeled sandals and a pretty dress. Music varies from Hawaiian to contemporary each evening.

Hawaii sunset by Kurt Winner

Perfect Beach Views: The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is a full-service resort with many facets. I like to plant myself in the lanai area of the Tropics Bar & Grill at the Ali’i Tower, a hotel within the hotel, well before the visitors have had time to shower and change. People watching is at its finest and soon the music sets the tone for the sunset. You might find Henry Kapono a popular Hawaiian signer accompanying your sunset, but certainly order the Village Mai Tai off the HHV Classic Hawaii menu. Layers of carmel colored rums and juices are topped off most appropriately with a premium rum float and the prerequisite orchid and pineapple garnish. Stick a straw in me, I am done.Hawaiian-Style: Kani Ka Pila Grille in the Outrigger Reef On The Beach is steps from the Halekulani (another fave of mine is their House Without a Key). Although the venue itself is not on the beach, the Kani Ka Pila Grille serves up delicious local-style food along with live Hawaiian music every night. We call these shared bites pupu, so order several plates to enjoy tapas-style.The food and drinks are reasonable by Waikiki standards and very good. Up your local vibe and pick up a flower lei to wear or to give away at Aunty Bellas Lei Stand on Kalakaua Avenue in front of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, but get there early for a table near the band. The beauty of this place is that it is one of the last places in Waikiki the locals feel at home. They come to relax and listen to the best of the Hawaiian music scene and many get up to dance an impromptu hula. You will love it.

Hawaiian-Style: Kani Ka Pila Grille in the Outrigger Reef On The Beach is steps from the Halekulani (another fave of mine is their House Without a Key). Although the music venue itself is not on the beach, the Kani Ka Pila Grille serves up delicious local-style food along with live Hawaiian music every night. We call these shared bites pupu, so order several plates to enjoy tapas-style.The food and drinks are reasonable by Waikiki standards and very good. Up your local vibe and pick up a flower lei to wear or to give away at Aunty Bellas Lei Stand on Kalakaua Avenue in front of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, but get there early for a table near the band. The beauty of this place is that it is one of the last places in Waikiki the locals feel at home. They come to relax and listen to the best of the Hawaiian music scene and many get up to dance an impromptu hula. You will love it.

Casual Elegance Options: Not in Waikiki but just around Diamond Head by car, you’ll pass the Diamond Head Lighthouse and lookout. Take Kahala Avenue to the end and you’ll be at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. The Kahala is a genteel place, a favorite of Jack Lord who used to live next door, and many kings, business titans and rock stars. I always get the best feeling dropping my car at the front with the valet and waltzing through the open air lobby to stand and marvel at the thousands of pieces of beach glass in the lobby chandeliers before making my way to a table in The Veranda lounge for live piano jazz weeknights and Hawaiian Music on Saturdays and Sundays. Sit alfresco on the open terrace and enjoy views of the beach and ocean while listening to music and sipping one of their apres sunset Mai Tais with pupu, or head down to oceanfront Plumeria Beach House for a sunset dinner. You can always start with a Mai Tai here, watch the sun go down and listen only to the music of the waves on the sand. Simply check the venues online to decide.

Wai'olu Ocean View Lounge: Ilikea's Mai Tai
 
Mai Tais are the most popular drinks at many hotels and resorts in Waikiki. Here is the Trump International Waikiki Hotel Bacardi award-winner from you can make at home.
Author:
Recipe Type: cocktail
Cuisine: Polynesian
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 oz Bacardi 8
  • ½ oz DiSarono Amaretto
  • ¼ oz Domain de Canton Ginger Liquor
  • ¾ oz homemade Kaffir Lime-Orange Syrup*
  • ½ oz Perfect Puree Caramelized Pineapple Concentrate
  • ¾ oz fresh Lime Juice
Instructions
  1. Shake and pour into highball glass
  2. Layer with ½ oz Bacardi Select
  3. Top with Pineapple Bacardi Gold sorbet
  4. Garnish, Pineapple Wedge and Orchid
  5. *Steep 20 kaffir leaves in water, simmer very low for ten minutes.
  6. After water is fragrant, make simple syrup with equal parts kaffir, water and sugar.
  7. Simmer syrup with peel from one orange for about 20 minutes.
 

 

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