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.
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.
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.