In the Loop

Science-minded mixologist shakes it up in Hana

Travaasa Hana’s new mixologist and Food & Beverage Supervisor Edward Toland is teaching the Art of the Cocktail on Sundays. -- CARLA TRACY photo

Mixologist Edward Toland has come a long way from creating craft cocktails in Las Vegas for the Wolfgang Puck restaurant group.

When he first moved to the Hawaiian Islands, he mixed it up at Morimoto Maui in Wailea, and his wife was one of the chefs cooking nearby at Spago Maui at Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea.

Then the couple moved to East Maui. Edward now serves as the Food & Beverage supervisor for all of the outlets of Travaasa Hana resort and his wife, Bella Toland, rocks the kitchen as the executive chef.

“When I worked at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at the MGM Grand, I was intrigued by how they experimented with making cocktails. So I moved out here and focused on the scientific aspects. I use a centrifuge on my fresh juices to pull all of the color and to clarify them. Spherification is hard to apply on a regular basis. But I make a sexy Bloody Mary drink with clear tomato juice and Worcestershire and Tabasco caviars. I pull down the pectin walls of the tomato. It’s really fun.”

Toland teaches the Art of the Cocktail at 2 p.m. Sundays in the Preserve Bar.

Craft cocktails are all the rage at the Travaasa Hana Preserve Bar. -- MICHAEL CHAD photo

“We pick a cocktail like the Manhattan. I give a history of where it came from and do a twist like the ‘Mad-Hatten’ and make it for guests to try,” he says. “Resort guests get first preference to attend as it’s limited, but anyone may sign up to enjoy it. Cost is $35 per person.

“The Manhattan is classic, a continously popular drink,” he adds. “Much to the chagrin of Mr. Bond, as in James Bond, the Manhattan is stirred and not shaken,” Toland adds. “One of the earliest records of a recipe is from Williams Schmidt’s ‘The Flowing Bowl’ that was published in 1891.”

Besides presenting weekly seminars and tastings, he likes to mix it up at the Preserve Bar, the party central of Hana town on most nights.

“We have music Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and plan to add more nights,” Toland says.

As for cocktail garnishes, he says that his cocktails revolve around what he gets from the local farmers.

“As an example, we had a bunch of starfruit recently. It was a fun garnish. Everything is so big and juicy here. Fruits grow so well because of the wet weather.”

He buys everything from local Meyer lemons to calamansi limes, tangelos and oranges as big as grapefruit. Employee Styles Estrella just brought in fruit from his backyard.

“I like to do a concoction of the month,” he says. “Something exotic. But I also do traditional drinks like the classic Side Car and a Bobby Burns.”

In the morning, eye-openers are much different from afternoon libations.

“We make the Niu Mist with nice white rum, coconut cream, pineapple and sparkling wine; and the Makai Bloody Mary with local chilis and pickles in brine and serve it with bacon. The Waikoloa orange-sicle is popular, too.”