Hotel Wailea, 555 Kaukahi St., 879-2224
Open daily, bar 4:30pm, restaurant 5:30pm
The preparation and enjoyment of cocktails is changing. No longer a social-lubricating afterthought, cocktails have become a part of the meal, used to stimulate the appetite and aid in digestion.
Capische? at the Hotel Wailea is hands down one of the sexiest places on-island to sip a drink. It could be their intimate setting (only nine tables). Or the breathtaking views of the ocean and glorious sunsets. Or the restaurant’s old-world charm—very European and alluring. Or—and here’s what I think is the key—the passion of the people who work in the kitchen and behind the bar.
Owner and chef Brian Etheredge decided to revamp his cocktail program, and brought on mixoligist Charlie Seibert. Etheredge met Seibert on a during to Porte Vedra, Florida, at the Restaurant Medure. Gone were the outdated lemon drops and chocolate martinis, replaced by fresh fuit, house-made mixes and fresh-squeezed juices. Etheredge was impressed.
“The food and beverage industry is going through an evolution right now,” says Seibert, whose passion for cocktails developed during his early years in the restaurant industry.
The martini menu at Capische? reveals this passion through meticulously balanced drinks and an array of premium, on-trend spirits. “My philosophy is all fresh: fresh juice, fresh sour, fresh herbs,” says Seibert.
“Nothing pre-made, no bottled syrups. We make everything we serve.”
Between shaking my refreshing cucumber citrus martini made from Square One vodka, St. Germain, muddled cucumber and handmade Kaffir lime limoncello, Seibert gives me a quick lesson on Scotch and the finer points of its flavors. “I love scotch; it’s a gentleman’s drink,” he says. I sniff the difference between an Islay Scotch and a highland Scotch and agree—though I’m more interested in the martini menu.
The house martini list is sculpted and unique. The C Lounge features fresh muddled strawberry, tarragon and canton ginger liqueur. The Watermelon Mint has Cinzano vermouth and Vangough Melon vodka. The
Poma Passion features Patron citronage and passion fruit puree. If you haven’t found your way up here yet to sample this list, here’s extra enticement: Capische? offers a happy hour starting at 4:30pm, with discounts on all martinis, glasses of wine, cocktails and beer.
Seibert says that, like Chef Etheredge in the kitchen, he aims to “break down recipes” and “recreate them [with] his own interpretation.”
“My current goal is deconstructing the Old Fashioned,” he says. “I’m experimenting with bacon. I can’t tell you about the bourbon—I’m still working on it.”
His mention of bourbon piques my interest, and as a grand finale Seibert makes me his pear Manhattan, an elixir of J Vineyards pear liqueur, Maker’s Mark and sous vide apples. I’m instantly enamored by its well-balanced flavor and dark brown glory, with tender apples just beneath my sipping reach. Like everything else on the menu it’s unique—and uniquely divine.
TUNE IN to 97.3 K-Rock during the A Train with Johnny A at 5:20pm every Friday for Jen Russo’s tastings of the week.