BOOZE: A Cocktail Fit For a King

Today is Kamehameha Day here in Hawaii; we honor the man who unified the islands during a time of conflict and change. Did you know that he was prophesied to be born on a day with feather-like lights in the sky - and Kamehameha I was born the day Haley's Comet passed overhead.

To honor Hawaii's first sovereign, Bacchus has a kingly cocktail: the Royal Hawaiian! A refreshing mix of pineapple and gin, with a touch of lemon juice and sweetness, this is a drink even Hawaii's royalty can't resist.

During the heyday of Tiki, the 1950s, the Martini reigned supreme. And while rum was the spirit of choice for most tropical libations, some bartenders sought to create gin-based concoctions that they might sell to Martini drinkers – no doubt at a higher markup. The Royal Hawaiian is one such drink. It first appears in published form, as far as I can tell (it’s not like I have All the Books), in Ted Saucier’s 1951 Bottoms Up, so it must have existed at least a few years before that. And other sources say it was served as early as 1948 at both the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Hotels in Honolulu. So who knows, this may have even been a wartime invention.

(image from