Forget the ubiquitous mai tais during your July visit to Honolulu. A monthlong celebration at the International Market Place will offer adult guests a one-of-a-kind way to quench their thirst.
The bartenders at the restaurants at the Waikiki marketplace are vying to see who can create the cleverest cocktails. The featured liquor changes each week: vodka through Saturday, tequila SundayJuly 14, whiskey July 15-21 and rum July 22-31.
The mix masters at seven participating restaurants are upping their game, offering ingenious concoctions that are available only for a few days each. For folks who are hungry, the cocktails can be paired with suggested small plates.
Here’s a taste of what can be sipped and savored:
♦The Pahoehoe at Eating House 1849, Sunday-July 14. Looking like something scrounged from the charred earth near Hawaii Island’s Kilauea Volcano, the Pahoehoe — the name refers to lava formations — contains tequila and mezcal plus coconut oil, a strawberry-peppercorn syrup, black sea salt on the rim and, to complete the volcanic effect, a topping of “coconut ash foam.”
♦Mauna Loa Old Fashioned, July 15-21, at Flour & Barley. This creative blend has a base of Gentleman Jack whiskey and sweet vermouth, plus orange marmalade and bitters. It will be paired with a formaggio (cheese) board.
♦Ginger Smash, July 15-21, at Yauatcha. The suggested pairing at this dim sum house is Char Siu Bao, buns filled with steamed pork.
♦Fog Cutter, July 22-31, at Street by Michael Mina. This bustling food hall will showcase a concoction made with three types of rum, banana liqueur, sugar cane juice, lime and pineapple. The suggested pairing, a Pipikuala Burger, comes from just-opened Burger Hale.
Each Thursday throughout the month, visitors can watch as different mixologists go head to head in the Battle of the Bartenders. The competition will be 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the International Market Place’s Queens Court. Onlookers will have an opportunity to taste the bartenders’ libations.