Classically, the martini is made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive. But, over the years, the martini has grown in stature and due to its popularity, has given rise to all sorts of innovative interpretations. Hawaii has made its own contribution to the canon of martini. Check out my picks for the top 5 martini menus in Hawaii.
It’s martini madness! Downtown hot spot Indigo is best known around town for its truly vast martini menu selection. Along with the infamous Lychee Martini, Indigo pours a perfect Gimlet with fresh squeezed lime juice. The Sake-Tini is spa fresh with Skyy Vodka, Gekkeikan Sake, fresh cucumber, and ginger. The En Fuego is just as hot as you’d expect enhanced with pepperocini juice and green Tabasco; the contradiction of the sweet Wild Blueberries is like biting into a slice of blueberry pie. Indigo’s martini menu does a spot-on job of serving up something delicious for everyone’s taste buds whether it’s tart, sweet, dry or sour.
Indigo is located at 1121 Nu’uanu Ave., www.indigo-hawaii.com, 808.521.2900.
Ambrosia Ultra Lounge
Named Best Bar in Maui by the Maui Weekly in 2010, Ambrosia serves up innovative island-inspired libations and scrumptious small plates. Sip the Tequila Twilight spiked with (you guessed it) tequila and sweetly flavored with tart grapefruit and zesty lemon. Order the Nuts & Berries that’s filled to the brim with strawberry vodka, Chambord, Crème de Almond and Frangelico. And be sure to try the Flirtini that’s made with Skyy Citrus, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and topped with Champagne. Happy hour is daily from 5 to 9 p.m. and on Monday’s enjoy $2 martinis all night long.
Ambrosia is located at 1913-H S. Kihei Rd., www.ambrosiamaui.com, 808.891.1011.
By day, this quaint martini lounge doubles as a coffee shop. So whether it’s a cup of freshly brewed Molokai coffee or a Pomegranate Martini you’re craving, BambuTwo has got you covered. Choose from more than 30 classic and exotic selections like the Appletini, Cosmopolitan, Lemon Drop and Espresso martinis. BambuTwo is a perfect place for happy hour with its plush couches and coffee shop culture vibe.
BambuTwo is located at 1144 Bethel St., www.bambutwo.com, 808.528.1144.
Pearl Ultra Lounge
Pearl is a hidden jewel tucked away in the bustling Ala Moana Shopping Center. Their Pear-tini is sweet and refreshing, shaken with Grey Goose La Poire, Amaretto, sweet and sour and a splash of lemon-lime. The Pamaberry is a pleasant balance of Pama pomegranate liquor with Stoli Raspberry Vodka. And the Mocha Frappatini is a chocolate concoction sure to seduce with its Van Gogh Dutch chocolate liquor, rock candy syrup and cream.
Pearl Ultra Lounge is located at Ala Moana Centre Ho’opika Terrace, www.pearlhawaii.com, 808.944.8000.
Saved the best for last. The Lewers Lounge cocktail menu was co-crafted by the “King of the Cocktail” himself, Dale Degroff. The James Bond is blended with vodka, gin and Lillet Blonde, shaken not stirred, of course, and his femme friend Adelita combines luscious strawberries and exotic lychees for an ideal match. The Millennium Martini is a unique mix of Cognac, Curacao, pineapple and bitters. Then, this mega-martini is dusted with nutmeg and finished with a flamed orange peel. The innovation continues throughout the signature menu or you can custom concoct your own personalized martini with your vodka of choice. Notable selections include Belvedere, Blavod, Chopin, Pravda, Cavalli and more.
Lewers Lounge is located at the Halekulani Hotel 2199 Kalia Rd., www.halekulani.com/dining/lewers_lounge, 808.923.2311.