Hawaiian Okolehao


A friend from Maui has graciously supplied me with some current regional product from Island Distillers:

Depending on your market, you may be able to mail order it here:

I have no way to know how close this stuff is to, say, whatever mid-Century product was available. Oke, in general, has a bad reputation in Hawaii, and it’s all but forgotten on the mainland. In any case, Island Distillers claims theirs involves local distilled ti root and is as authentic as they can figure how to make it.

Some articles:

Anyway, this bottling doesn’t taste like much on its own, other than alcohol. However, we’ve been experimenting with the Oke drinks that Beachbum Berry has published, and the results have been most surprising. Basically, once you start mixing with this stuff, a “creamy”, “dulce de leche” character expresses itself that is quite unlike anything I, or my fellow tasters, have had before. So far the winning recipe is the Polynesian Paralysis from the 1950s that Berry published back in Grog Log. It’s a damn good drink, and tastes like nothing else when made with this stuff. We were less successful with the Halekulani Cocktail—it just wasn’t good, and it wasn’t at all clear how to fix it. The one we haven’t gotten to yet—but I’m keen to try soon—is the Bali Hai from the House of Happy Talk Lounge, c. 1961.