When one thinks of Hawaii, images of pristine beaches, lush green landscapes, and tropical cocktails often come to mind. However, Hawaii has more to offer to spirits enthusiasts than just fruity concoctions. The Hawaiian Islands have a growing reputation in the world of craft spirits, including whiskey and rum. The Hawaii Island Distillers Trail, a delightful journey through the islands, allows you to explore the art of distillation and savor the unique flavors of Hawaiian spirits. In this article, we'll take you on a tour of some of the prominent distilleries on Hawaii Island, like Ko Hana Distillers and Kōloa Rum Company, offering a taste of paradise in a glass.
Ko Hana Distillers: A Taste of Authentic Hawaiian Agricole Rum
Ko Hana Distillers, nestled on the island's west coast, is a must-visit for those seeking a unique Hawaiian spirit experience. What sets Ko Hana apart is its dedication to producing agricole rum, a style that originated in the Caribbean but has found a new home on the volcanic soils of Hawaii.
The distillery's estate-grown sugar cane varieties, such as native white pua’a and Manulele, are cultivated in the fertile soil, providing a sense of terroir unique to the islands. Visitors can explore the fields, where these heirloom sugar canes grow, and learn about the entire rum-making process.
At the tasting room, you can sample a variety of agricole rums, each reflecting the essence of Hawaii in every sip. From their crisp, grassy Manulele White Agricole to the rich and complex Kohana Kea Agricole Barrel Select, Ko Hana's rums showcase the spirit of the islands.
Kōloa Rum Company: A Journey Through Hawaiian Rum Traditions
A short drive from Ko Hana, the Kōloa Rum Company awaits, ready to take you on a journey through Hawaii's rum-making heritage. Nestled in the historic town of Kalaheo, Kōloa Rum Company is known for producing premium Hawaiian rum infused with the flavors of the islands.
The distillery offers an informative and interactive tour, where you can witness the distillation process up close and personal. Learn about the rich history of sugar and rum production in Hawaii, which dates back to the 1830s.
The tasting room at Kōloa Rum Company is a treat for the senses. Sample their award-winning rums, ranging from the smooth and versatile Kōloa White Rum to the sumptuous Kōloa Kaua'i Coffee Rum. They even offer seasonal and limited-edition releases that are sure to surprise and delight your palate.
Hawaii Island Distillers Trail: A Sip of Paradise
The Hawaii Island Distillers Trail is more than just a collection of distilleries; it's a celebration of the spirit and culture of the Hawaiian Islands. It provides visitors with a unique opportunity to explore the art of distillation, learn about the history of spirits in Hawaii, and indulge in distinctive flavors.
As you travel the trail, you'll encounter other hidden gems, like Hakolo, a boutique distillery crafting world-class gin infused with botanicals foraged from the island's forests. There's also the Ola Brew Co., offering a selection of craft beers and ciders brewed with locally sourced ingredients.
Hawaii's Terroir in a Glass
One of the remarkable aspects of the Hawaii Island Distillers Trail is the impact of terroir on the spirits. The volcanic soil, tropical climate, and unique sugar cane varieties contribute to the distinctive flavors found in Hawaiian spirits. You can taste the essence of Hawaii in every glass, making this experience truly one of a kind.
While Hawaii is famous for its sun, sand, and surf, the Hawaii Island Distillers Trail invites you to explore a different side of paradise. From agricole rums with a sense of terroir to rich and flavorful Hawaiian rum, the distilleries on this trail offer an exceptional opportunity to discover the world of craft spirits in the Aloha State. So, the next time you find yourself on Hawaii Island, set aside some time to savor the flavors of the islands and embark on a memorable journey along the Hawaii Island Distillers Trail.