Moana Bakery & Cafe’s Happy Hour and Interview with James Shoemaker @MoanaCafe

James Shoemaker,

Moana Café in Paia

How did you get a job there?

Well, I would hope it was experience & original cocktails but you know, being named on the Maui Time Most Essential Bartender List 2011 didn’t hurt.

What spirit do you like to work with the most?

American whiskey. I make a mean Sazerak.

What is the last incredible wine you drank?

2008 Mangus by Arizona Stronghold winery. The grapes are grown in Cochise County, AZ by Tool frontman Maynard Keenan and this bottle of Jesus Juice made its way to me on a volcanic rock in the middle of the ocean –pretty spectacular

If you could change one thing about the drinks business on Maui what would it be?


What is your favorite happy hour on Maui? Why?

Well, it was Kahale’s Beach Club but they got rid of the Auto-Fry so now its the Dog & Duck.  3 Words: Harp Irish Lager

What is your bar’s signature drink?


What is YOUR signature drink?

Year of the Dragon Mai Tai

When you are making a cocktail what is the most important thing?

Spirit to Bitters to Sugar to Water ratio


Who or what influences you outside of the beverage business?

I read cook books

Name one new liquor you tasted recently

Okolehao by Haleakala Distillers. I love this uniquely Hawaiian cane-based spirit at Moana Café, come by for a Dharma Initiative and I promise it will blow your head clean off.

What are your regulars like?

I have da bes crew of regulars, sometimes we rock out with bourbon Old Fashioned’s and now The Last Word has found its way into their lives.

What is one interesting thing about being a bartender on Maui?

I like cruising the Saturday Swap Meet for all kinds of crazy-ass fruit & herbs

What makes a good Bartender?

Bartending…requires considerable study to become an expert. The really great Bartenders are people who have the ability of suiting and pleasing their customers, who recognize that there are several grades of cocktails. A good Barman can always be told by the way his bench looks.

What is the newest drink you have created?

Mr Grey. Ok, so we developed this cocktail for all our special lady-friends at Moana Café, one of ya’ll left your copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and we were inspired (to say the least). 2 pts Grey Goose vodka, 1 pt St Germain, Fresh Upcountry strawberries, Rhubarb bitters, Lime juice, Handcuffs (optional)

MOANA BAKERY & CAFE – Daily (except Sun & Mon). $3 Corona’s & $4.50 drafts; $4 Reisling & $6 Malbec; $1 off Wells. Also enjoy a Happy Hour food menu with items ranging from $4-$8. 5-6:30pm Moana Bakery & Cafe, (71 Baldwin Ave.,  Paia); 808-579-9999

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