Anyone who enjoys mixologist beverages, artisan crafted spirits, gourmet flavors, Asian cuisine and fusion menus will “get” the special creations coming out of Royal Hawaii Spirits Distillery. Not only do they make their own versions of Western style spirits with locally sourced fruits and other ingredients — like rum, whisky, gin, vodka — but also, Asian specialty beverages, including Hawaiian Style Soju, Taro Shochu, Lilikoi Liqueur. But only 25% of their products are available for online purchase. The rest, such as small quantities of testing runs, formula variations, spirits made from exotic and expensive ingredients, etc., are available only in RHS Sales Room in Honolulu Kalihi. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!
Maui Pink Gin has a rosy pink color. It was developed in Honolulu by “Uncle Karl”, who they refer to as the Willie Wonka of Hawaiian spirits. I experienced a bright nose of tropical floral (hibiscus?) and tropical fruit notes, light and sweet.
Flavor-wise, it has a pepper bite, with rich herbal botanicals. It’s a smooth gin with a tropical fruit finish. It’s made from superfine vodka, pure water and botanicals.
It makes for a full bodied Gin and Tonic, with tropical fruit notes. Have you read about that 105-year-old lady who has lived through the Spanish Influenza and Covid 19 epidemics? She credits gin-soaked raisins, that she told the Pandemic War Room is made by filling a jar with golden raisin, topping it off with gin, letting it rest in a warm place for several days and eating 9 raisins a day. I tried it with Maui Pink Gin. It add a little sharp, peppery contrast to the treacly dried fruit and makes for a great accompaniment to a cheese plate. You can sprinkle it on fresh fruit salad, too.
Haluda Bae Spirit is a cane-based spirit and a Double Gold award winner. It’s crafted in a specially modified still with copper plates. I experienced an herbal/rosemary nose with grass, eucalyptus and some sweetness.
Flavor-wise, it is warming, with powerful herbaceous elements, with a little black pepper. It’s savory, with a little anise finish. I consider it sophisticated and unusual — not like ouzo or any other digestive, but it could become your favorite. A little mineral water really opens it up, smooths it. Garnish it with a savory variety of mint, such as spearmint or fresh Thai basil.
Yvan Su Rum is a clear small batch rum distilled from sugar cane as a salute to the men and women who’ve served in the Navy and other service branches. I experienced a bright sugar and fruit nose: not treacly like a molasses-based rum would be.
Flavorwise, I tasted sugar plus herbs. It has a medium body. It’s warming, but there’s no harsh bite. I found it smooth, with complex flavors. I made a Light & Stormy with sugar-free ginger beer: excellent! Very flavorful.
Ulukila Breadfruit Spirits/Liquor has a dark amber color. I experienced an almond angel cake nose.
Flavorwise, I tasted digestive almond with an alcohol bite, light body. There’s a touch of sweetness, but it’s certainly complimentary to savory foods. It’s crafted from Polynesian breadfruit. They suggest it straight, in mixed drinks and cocktails of all sorts, but also for cooking, flambe’, tempura butter, marinades, etc.
BF Whisky & Spirits Distilled from Breadfruit is a premium spirit crafted from Polynesian breadfruit imported from Samoa and whisky. I experienced a rich, baked fruit nose. It’s warming.
Flavorwise, I tasted cloves/spice with breadfruit, toasted notes, baked banana and a touch of herbs, but it’s not grassy or peaty: very accessible. It’s great straight or I’d suggest it in any cocktail where you’d normally use bourbon.
Ahi Tuna Vodka — I’m sure I’ve got your attention now! It was a Gold Medal Winner at the Las Vegas Global Award International Spirit Competition, Bronze Medal at Bartenders Spirit Competition in San Francisco and Bronze Awards at the Hong Kong Spirit International Competition.
It has a tuna, salt and vodka nose: like sea spray. They describe it as having a strong fish aroma (but no strong smell after swallowing), tasting like fish jerky with a very smooth finish.
Flavorwise, it has some bite. Straight, it tastes like red tuna sashimi, meaty. In a Bloody Mary, it’s in the order of a Bloody Caesar, but less fishy. I’d say it’s somewhere between a Bloody Caesar and a Bloody Bull. Tasty and unique!