Hawaiian Drinks: A Brief Guide To Hawaii’s Tropical Drinks

My Hawaiian Drinks

Hawaiian Drinks: My secret family recipe.

Hawaii is home to beautiful beaches, active volcanoes and beautiful flowers like ginger and anthurium flowers. In Hawaii, you can also find several drinks have become closely associated with the islands. Few people fail to think of Mai Tai’s or Blue Hawaii’s, when the drinks of Hawaii are mentioned. But Hawaii also offers a special type of coffee and an exotic drink called kava. Here are a few of my favorite Hawaiian drinks.

Mai Tai

Almost everybody who visits Hawaii has heard of the legendary drink called the Mai Tai. But did you know that this drink wasn’t invented here. It was invented by a man named Donn Beach who owned a restaurant in California. Beach’s recipe consists of rum, orange curacao and orange juice. Beach seems to have the perfect surname for a man whose drink is sipped on the beaches of Hawaii.

Kona Coffee

A man named Samuel Ruggles brought the first coffee plant to Kona in 1828. Kona’s unique weather and fertile soil produces a coffee that surpasses nearly all other coffees in the world. The only comparable coffee outside of Kopi Luwak (which is not for the squeamish) is probably Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee. Kona coffee is grown on over eight hundred farms that are located in the districts of North or South Kona. Only coffee cultivated in these two districts can be called Kona Coffee.

Blue Hawaii

The Blue Hawaii was created by Harry Yee in 1957. Yee came up with the Blue Hawaii, which is a combination of vodka, rum, blue curacao and pineapple juice, after being asked by a product sales representative of the Bols Company to create a drink featuring their new Blue Curacao liquor. Obviously, it was a big hit. The Blue Hawaii, with its signature blue color, has become a popular drink in Hawaii.


Kava is grown all over the pacific. Early polynesian voyagers introduced kava to Hawaii and have been having it for centuries. Kava appears to calm the mind and body, and also seems to foster sociability. But be forewarned, most people who try kava for the first time say that it is one of the most horrible tasting drinks they have ever tried.

Kava Kava High

“You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply.” Woops, that’s Rocky Mountain High. I suppose you’re looking for Kava Kava High.

Sorry to disappoint you but the Kava Kava High is not like the high from hard drugs. (Not that I’ve tried any hard drugs.) But I have tried kava. In fact, here’s a picture of my current bag of kava. It is Hiwa Kava from the folks at Hawaiia Kava Center.

Hiwa Kava

Hiwa Kava

According to them, it was the favorite variety of kava (or awa as we say in Hawaii) of the Kahuna. Now the Kahuna were the high priests and advisors of Hawaiian royalty. They were really smart and also really scary dudes, who were not to be messed with. And they liked this variety of kava the best.

Why did they like it so much?

Well it produces amazing cerebral effects. It generates a sublime state of calmness and focus like no other. I feel like my mind can go places that it normally can’t. It relaxes my muscles and my whole body. It makes my lips and tongue a little numb and it produces a mild euphoria. It seems to lower my overall levels of stress and anxiety. It is totally unlike the effects of alcohol. When I drink it, my mind stays completely sharp and I don’t experience any hangover like effects the next day.

A word of warning. Don’t buy this if you have sensitive taste buds. I buy it and I drink it because I like the effects, but I hate the taste. In my opinion it is the worst tasting of the Hawaiian Drinks.Some people say its taste has hints of cocoa, but I think it tastes like dirt mixed with leaves and a dash of pepper. But that might just be me.

Kona Coffee Review

Hawaii received its first coffee trees in 1828. They were brought to the islands on HMS Blond, which was a British warship. Soon after, coffee was planted in the Kona district of the Big Island. Kona’s rich volcanic soil and unique climate work together to produce a coffee like no other. Kona coffee is by far one of the best tasting Hawaiian Drinks.

Recently I tried 100% Kona coffee from a company called Royal Kona. I sampled their Private Reserve, Medium Roast, Whole Bean. It’s not cheap. In fact, it costs roughly $2 per ounce, but it was definitely worth it.

Royal Kona Coffee

My Bag of Royal Kona Coffee

It has a very fragrant, intoxicating coffee aroma. I really can’t describe it. I can only imagine what it must smell like when it was being roasted.

And it has a rich, complex flavor. It has a smooth, almost buttery mouth feel, with just a hint of acidity. And I really like the earthy notes that I got from it, which are much more complex than other coffees.

As long as you are a one or two cup a day coffee drinker like me, I think that you’ll love this coffee. But if you drink more than that, you will probably love this coffee, but hate what it does to your wallet.

Ka’u Coffee

You might not be able to tell this from its name, but Ka’u coffee is grown in the district of Ka’u. Ka’u is located on the Big Island of Hawaii just a few miles outside of the Volcano National Park.

Now Kona Coffee is thought by many to be one of the finest coffees in the world and if you are interested in kona coffee you might want to view my Kona Coffee Review, but I think coffee from this obscure area, called Ka’u, that few have heard of is one of Hawaii’s best kept secrets. Now I’ve tried both Kona Coffee and Ka’u Coffee and if Kau Coffee isn’t comparable to Kona Coffee, I’d have to say that it is very close in quality and flavor and it is one of my favorite Hawaiian Drinks.

Ka'u Coffee

A bag of my Ka'u Coffee from Big Island Coffee.

And you know what the best thing about this little known coffee is? It’s the price; it is significantly less pricey than Kona Coffee, because so few non-locals know about it. But how long will this incredible coffee from Ka’u remain Hawaii’s best kept secret? My wallet hopes that the answer is forever.

P.S.: You didn’t hear this from me…You may have already had Ka’u coffee and not even realized it. I’ve heard a few rumors that some “kona coffee” was really grown in Ka’u and secretly smuggled into Kona for roasting and packaging under the Kona coffee label. But these are just rumors after all.