Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Mai Tai

This Mai Tai is part of a line of bottled cocktails from O’ahu’s Kō Hana rum distillery. We’re fans of their rum products and this cocktail line is starting to become available outside the islands. I picked mine up at Bitters and Bottles. Retail price is around $15.

In terms of overall taste, the Kō Hana Mai Tai’s most pronounced taste and bouquet is coming from the stellar Hawaiian Rum Agricole. This rum is distilled from cane juice and has a savory and sweet taste that’s different from rums distilled from molasses. There are also tangy citrus flavors and some light fruity flavors, but I’m not getting a lot of orange or almond like you’d expect from a traditional Mai Tai. But I’m also not picking up much pineapple or coconut, so in that respect this bottled Mai Tai is already a lot better than most.

Kō Hana recommends this served over ice and I found it to be noticeably better in this format. It comes in at a hefty 22% ABV, which means that 375 bottle is best for a couple people. Throw a pineapple or umbrella in the drink and take a Hawaiian vacation.

This is one of the better bottled Mai Tais. If you love rums made from cane juice, Kō Hana’s Mai Tai is truly outstanding.

The Fink – New Cocktail Bar in Downtown Napa

We were excited to try the new cocktail bar in downtown Napa from local raconteur Judd Finkelstein – aka “The Fink” where the venue gets its name. The bar is the same spot as the former Silo’s and is situated in the historic grain mill that now houses the upscale Napa River Inn. The venue takes inspiration from the nearby Napa River and is cohesively themed by Daniel Gallardo (Tiki Diablo) as a nautical trading post. It’s dark yet warm with a large bar, some two-top tables, several booths with portholes, and a lounge area. There is a stage with a piano that will house live music starting in a few weeks.

The Fink serves beer and wine, and Finklestein’s experience with Judd’s Hill Winery means you won’t be lacking for good options. But first and foremost this is a cockail bar and they’ve hired experienced bartenders from the area including Andrew Salazar (ex-Miminashi) to put together the cocktail program and execute it flawlessly.

There are currently 24 cocktails, with more to come. Presently there’s a twelve item House Cocktails section, with six each for the tiki-inspired “LA to the Bay” and classics-inspired “Gotham City.” New Orleans will be the next destination.

OG Mai Tai from The Fink’s Judd Finklestein

Our starting place was the OG Mai Tai, which features house-made Orgeat. This nutty cocktail includes two Jamaican rums and one from Martinique and is quite good. We loved two other exotics on the menu, the tangy Cobra’s Fang and the spicy Nui Nui. All of these would stand up to any cocktail you’d find at leading tiki bars in the country.

Cobra’s Fang and Nui Nui

We also tried the Casino Royale cocktail including Cognac, lemon, orange bitters, Maraschino Liqueur, and Champagne. It’s an elegant cocktail with a medium-bodied mouthfeel and a lingering finish.

Casino Royale

The Fink serves small bites and has some great merchandise options (with more coming) including a membership pin. We loved the swizzle stick that pays homage to Finklestein’s eyewear. We had a great time at The Fink and it is truly worth seeking out or making a special trip for.

Turkey Grog Revisited

Had a grapefruit to kill so I made this cocktail that I developed a few years back and it remains a popular favorite. The use of flavorful Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is the key component and where the cocktail gets its name.

Turkey Grog by Kevin Crossman
¾ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Ruby Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
½ oz Velvet Falernum
½ oz Don’s Spices #2
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
¾ oz Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum
1½ oz Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
Shake with ice, garnish with mint. Serve in glass of choice.

Don’s Spices #2: Equal parts Vanilla Syrup and Pimento Dram/Allspice Liqueur.
If you have non-alcoholic Falernum syrup then drop the amount to ¼ oz.