2.24.17 Kauai Rum Punch
If you live in Wisconsin, you may remember that January was not an entirely nice month. I believe there was an entire two weeks where the sun didn’t come out at all, and we were deluged with cold, sleety rain and ice. Admittedly, I got pretty disheartened, and dreamed of traveling to a far away, sunny locale. Which is how I found myself googling flights to Hawaii, and how I stumbled upon some amazing last minute deals that seemed too good to pass up. A few short weeks later, we were on our way to Kauai.
I have not visited enough of the other Hawaiian islands to give a good comparison, but I have to say that Kauai is especially awesome, and not just because they filmed Jurassic Park there. It’s the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, and as such is covered in beautiful, lush jungles. It boasts plenty of stunning mountains, towering cliffs, and bright, coral-strewn beaches. The island atmosphere is decidedly laid back. It also happens to be where Forrest and I went on our honeymoon back in 2009. We couldn’t wait to go back.
Truth be told, I was pretty nervous about the prospect of taking our super active wildman of a 15 month old on such a long flight, and while it was not the most fun experience ever, thanks to some solid planning (flights during his naps/bedtime), and an arsenal of Trader Joe’s freeze-dried strawberries (apparently his all time favorite food), we made it there and back in one piece, and Leo adapted to the time change like a pro.
The last time we were on Kauai, we stayed in Poipu on the southern shore, but we opted to check out a different locale this time around. We ended up staying on the east coast in Kapa’a, on the advice of our good friends Andrew and Gracie, who happened to be going there at the same time. I’m glad we listened to them.
First and foremost, while in Hawaii, we planned to eat a semi-ridiculous amount of poké, and I’m happy to report that we were most successful in this endeavor. We quickly found that it was readily available everywhere - grocery stores, restaurants, the excellent Pono Market in old Kapa’a town (which also had some top notch fried chicken) - which meant we had no problem keeping ourselves well supplied with the stuff. And so many varieties - everything from shoyu ahi poké to spicy Korean octopus poké were consumed in mass quantities.
Besides poké, we also made a point to cook and eat as much seafood as we could get our hands on, because let’s face it, there’s no way to get seafood that fresh back in Wisconsin. We grilled shrimp, and seared ahi, serving them as up simply as possible with local avocados, mangoes and steamed rice. We ate ahi tacos from a taco truck, and devoured coconut macadamia crusted hebi and charmoula spiced ahi in Caffe Coco's lovely outdoor dining area that was carpeted with sparkly polished glass. And while we may have returned home with significantly higher mercury levels than before, It was totally worth it.
We also knew we had to take full advantage of the coffee situation in Hawaii, stuffing our suitcases full of local coffee beans to take home, and brewing up a pot each morning to drink on the porch along with plenty of macadamia nut sticky buns from our favorite bakery in Kapa’a and fresh fruit from the local farmer’s market.
Oh, and the shave ice. To say we ate a lot of Hawaiian shave ice on this trip is an understatement. Wailua Shave Ice was dangerously within walking distance of the cabin we were staying at, which meant we ate approximately 532 bowls of the stuff.
Believe it or not, we did other things besides eat on this trip as well. A hike to Ho’opi’i Falls, day trips to Hanalei and Kilauea Light, and visiting many beaches in the area. We saw humpback whales breaching and spouting just offshore and Hawaiian monk seals lazed on the beaches nearby us. It was absolutely perfect.
We returned home tanned, relaxed, and prepared for winter again, only to find unseasonably warm February weather which made us feel a little like our vacation followed us home. And with a few glasses of Forrest’s Kauai rum punch, a Mai Tai-esque concoction he perfected on our trip, we’re definitely still feeling the Hawaiian vibes. Make yourself a batch and join us.
Kauai Rum Punch
- 3 oz white rum
- 1 oz dark rum + 1 oz more for floater
- 1 ½ oz triple sec
- 3 oz pineapple juice
- 6 oz POG (passion orange guava) juice (we used Hawaiian Sun brand)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- Pineapple wedge for garnish
1. Combine the white rum, 1 oz dark rum, triple sec, pineapple juice, passion orange guava juice, and lime juice in a jar or pitcher. Add plenty of ice cubes to two highball glasses, and divide rum mixture evenly between them.
2. For each cocktail, pour about ½ oz additional dark rum over the rounded side of a spoon and onto the cocktail to float. Garnish drinks with a pineapple wedge and serve immediately.