Lahaina Grill, Lahaina
Genius. Some of use can’t stomach Manhattans or dirty martinis. Then again, the sticky alterna-tinis—appletinis, chocotinis and the like—can approach the taste of cough medicine mixed with high fructose corn syrup and food coloring. The first I have seen of its kind, the ginger martini offers a slight bite and only hints at sugariness with its sugared rim and the cube of crystallized ginger that serves as a garnish. Sour mix and triple sec balance each other out as not to overpower the ginger juice or the vodka. My friend Sarah says it tastes like ginger ale. I concur.
Hawaiian Herbal Blessings, Islandwide
I’ve seen it in other places, but tracked it down at Alice in Hulaland in Paia. This Maui-made soap has a clean, sweet but not nausea-inducing scent. The noni aspect may throw you off, especially if you’ve ever tasted noni juice. Yuck. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, miracle fruit, etc.) But the noni is included in the formula here for topical purposes, as it is said to have healing and/or soothing properties.
GINGER TURMERIC SHOT
Abundant Aina Cafe, Kahului
This seems like a pretty solid fix for what ails you, be it aches and pains, the common cold or a hangover. Ginger root is said to be something of a cure-all and is used to treat nausea, inflammation and everything in between. Turmeric is a widely used natural remedy for inflammation as well, so mixed with ginger it makes a pretty powerful tonic. It doesn’t taste bad, either. It’s not exactly ginger ale, but the two herbs together pack a decent—but not too strong—bite. Plus it’s one of the most vibrantly hued things you can get that wasn’t made in a laboratory.
Bangkok Thai, Kahului
You can probably find a variation on this at nearly any Thai joint on-island. The secret to this type of dish seems to lie not in the sauce, but rather in the tender and thin spears of ginger root featured throughout.
Okay, so it’s not produced on Maui, but I had to find a way to mention Flight of the Conchords. This cult HBO comedy series chronicles a novelty music duo from New Zealand as they attempt to make it big. My favorite episode is “Bowie,” wherein David Bowie visits one of the characters in his sleep. Gingerballs refers to their delightfully clueless (and redheaded) manager, Murray. The first season of FOTC is available on DVD, and can be acquired via Netflix. You can check out clips of the show on the HBO Web site. MTW