“There’s naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion.”
– Lord Byron
What is it? Maui Okolehao Liqueur
Who makes it? Haleakala Distllers, the only authorized rum distillery on-island.
What’s in it? East Maui ti root and evaporated cane juice; it’s 80 proof, or 40 percent alcohol.
How much is available? A limited supply—a couple hundred cases—for now, though more may be made in the coming months.
What’s ‘okolehao’? A unique, currently hard-to-find spirit, made from C. Fruticosa, better known as the ti plant, a flowering lily that has played a significant role in Polynesian and Hawaiian society for generations.
What does it taste like? Depends on the incarnation. It’s been described as a mix between rum and tequila, and has also been compared to sake. “Moonshine” varieties carry more of a kick. Haleakala Distillers’ version is a liqueur, meaning it’s subtler than its historical progenitors, with an emphasis on sweet.
Does it feature in any cocktails? The Bali Hai—courtesy of the Internet Cocktail Database—calls for 1 oz. light rum, 1 oz. okolehao, 2 oz. lemon and 3 oz. lime, poured over crushed ice and topped with champagne; or there’s the Haote Pikia, 1 oz. light rum, 1 oz. okolehao, a splash of Angostura bitters, poured over ice and topped with lemon soda
Where can I find it? While supplies last, Haliimaile General Store in Makawao and the Maui Brewing Company brew pub in Kahana are serving Maui Okolehao, as are a number of retailers, including, among others: Aloha Discount Liquor in Kihei, Hawaii Liquor Superstore in Kahului and the Wine Corner in Paia and Lahaina. Jacob Shafer, MauiTime
For more info, call 280-6822 or visit haleakaladistillers.com