Starting today you can get your aloha spirits on—literally—by imbibing one of newly opened ‘āina's cocktails. The Hawaii-inspired pop-up-turned-brick-and-mortar just opened its doors in the Dogpatch today, and with it brings slew of playful low-ABV drinks.
The Drink to Get
Those who have had the chance to visit Hawaii will recognize shave ice as a beloved local dessert. The good kind is made with paper-thin ice shavings saturated in sticky sweet fruit-flavored syrup, tasty to the last drop as the strong Hawaiian sun melts the ice into slush.
In homage, bar manager Jason Alonzo (La Folie) and Hawaii-born chef Jordan Keao created a cocktail to evoke this specific Hawaii experience: The Smoked Swizzle stirs up muddled sage, mint, berry compote, smoked soju, lemon juice, and amaro with coarsely crushed shave ice. Sipped through a straw —like shave ice— with juicy bits of sweet fruit making its way up, the cocktail will have you feeling the Hawaiian tradewinds even from afar.
Behind the Menu
With tiki cocktails and Hawaiian-style food trending at a national level, Keao (who is part Native Hawaiian and spent part of his childhood on O‘ahu), and Alonzo wanted to bring something different to the table. They decided to take local Hawaiian flavors and blend them with light tiki conventions, in an easy-to-drink low ABV format. The two collaborate closely, sometimes integrating kitchen techniques to the bar, as they did with the smoked soju in the swizzle.
The lighter touch with alcohol not only matches their wine and beer license, it also goes well with their opening menu, which is brunch for now—meaning you can enjoy a few glasses with breakfast and keep your balance as you walk out. It also helps keep the cocktails affordable, with prices ranging from $6 to $8.
In case one is not enough, here's what else to get:
- For Sunday Funday - Go in on a punch bowl with two ($12) or four ($22) people—you choose the size. Bright and fruity, the punch strongly resembles a local Hawai‘i favorite juice called POG. Unlike POG, which is made from passion fruit, orange, and guava, Alonzo's concoction blends Italian vermouth, Cappelletti (an Italian vermouth), lime juice, papaya juice, and a rosemary and papaya syrup.
- To ease your way in: The drink is so light and fluffy it will remind you of sipping on clouds. The Blood Orange Sour whips together an aperitif called americano gancia, blood orange juice, kiwi juice, egg white, and pepper syrup.
- Go traditional: Alonzo presents a subtle well-balanced Bloody Mary. It bursts with umami using lemongrass-infused soju, tomato puree, horseraddish, pink peppercorn, and tabasco sauce.