The Spirits of Maui

Hidden away from Maui’s endless beaches, hiking trails, waterfalls, tourist attractions, restaurants, golf courses and storefronts is a unique area of the island known as “upcountry,” where livestock and agriculture take top billing over surfing and snorkeling.

Just off the Kula Highway and just minutes from the Surfing Goat Dairy – also another worthwhile and delicious stop – is a somewhat unknown Hawaiian destination worth a visit.

Photo by Jessica Pearl courtesy of Ocean Vodka

Ocean Vodka Farm is an organic farm and liquor distillery that perched high enough to offer an elevated panoramic view of the Pacific on both the west and east sides of the island, high above the isthmus that separates the two volcanic masses that form Maui. It’s also the home of Ocean Organic Vodka and Deep Island Hawaiian Rum.

After many trips to Maui, I finally took the distillery tour last summer. Known for its unique artistic spherical bottle, Ocean Vodka is the only vodka made from organic sugar cane grown in the farms that surround the small distillery. The sugar cane-based mash is blended with deep ocean mineral water sourced 3,000 feet deep off the Kona coast of the island of Hawaii.

Photo by Jessica Pearl courtesy of Ocean Vodka

While sugar cane farms are disappearing on Maui the same way that citrus groves vanished throughout the Inland Empire, the 80-acre organic farm still offers one of the largest selections of sugar cane varieties in the world. There is plenty to support international distribution of Ocean Vodka, as well as Deep Island Hawaiian Rum. Also blended with deep ocean mineral water, the rum is enjoyable by itself or in any number of tropical cocktails.

Between shopping and sight seeing, an escape to upcountry is no more than an hour’s drive from most of the island’s beach resorts. It’s also a convenient detour on the way back from sunrise at the Haleakalā volcano, and likely one of our destinations when this blog posts.

If a road trip isn’t in your plans next time you’re on Maui, then fear not. Ocean Vodka and Deep Island Hawaiian Rum are both available at stores around the Hawaiian Islands and at many locations on the mainland.

The Father of Our Country was a Mixologist

Egg Nog has always been a holiday tradition, but it’s always been the store-bought variety that makes its way to most homes. A couple of years ago my friends Dana and James Pike mentioned a special home-made version that most definitely packs a wallop. The recipe comes from none other than our first president, George Washington himself. The Father of Our Country was indeed a mixologist. While you can easily find the recipe online, we’ve posted it at IEShineOn.com as our Cocktail of the Month for December
, along with a few other holiday delights. Cheers!

 

December Beer and Wine Events

ieshineon-inland-empire-december-beer-and-wine-events-guide-673The holidays bring plenty of opportunities to sample adult beverages. We’ve got your guide to the Inland Empire’s beer and wine events during December at IEShineOn.com. We’ll cover New Year’s Eve in an upcoming post. Cheers!

 

Cocktails of the Month for September

ieshineon-september-cocktail-of-the-month-623While the weather outside still says summer, the calendar shows we’re on the cusp of fall and the transition to some cooler temperatures ahead. And with the change of seasons comes a shift in the types of cocktails that are most appealing. Specifically, that means a transition from light refreshing drinks, to those that feature dark distilled liquor. There’s no better place to start than with a couple of classic whiskey cocktails – the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned – along with a few other variations. I’ve got my take on a couple of my favorites at IEShineOn.com. These are heavy on the alcohol, so, as always, please be careful and drink responsibly.12072825_1085262341491843_5867455890284977700_n

Beer and Wine Events for September

1994-ieso-inland-empire-september-beer-wine-guide-623Summer’s just about over, but there is no shortage of events where you can quench your thirst and sample great craft beers and fine wines. Check out IEShineOn.com for my guide to some of this month’s special events in the Inland Empire.