Merriman's Kapalua boasts wine and bar specialist Jeff Groh, who is updating the cocktail menus and programs.
"I'm adding a Rum Diary page to the wine list, which highlights artisan producers and unique rums from the US, Guatemala, Trinidad, Jamaica, Martinique, Indonesia and various other locales around the world," says Groh.
"The page also features takes on classic rum cocktails, rum liqueurs, and a variety of punches. Rum has an incredibly interesting history that is deeply entwined with both the origins of the U.S. and island drinking culture. It's a natural fit to the tourist's concept of Hawaii, which is why it's been so roughly treated over the years - now we're trying to give back some of its original luster by giving it the respect it deserves."
The “Tita” is topped with coconut-lime foam.
As you sip, munch kalua pig quesadillas with kim chee made in house, drizzled with mango-chile water. Or opt for mini Maui Cattle Co. filet and applewood bacon sliders, served with blue-cheese aioli on fresh brioche baked in house.
Merriman's features its own garden, and so the food on the menu as well as the drinks are packed with fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits from there and other local farms.
"Living in Hawaii gives us a chance to highlight some of the most fragrant delicious fruits in the world," says Groh. "We are using them to add flavor and aromatics to cocktails without burying their attributes in sweetness. Coconut cream is used to give body to a foam. Pineapples are used to give aromatics to bitters sprayed on top of a cocktail. Lilikoi is paired with scotch, and mango is paired with tequila and peppers to balance the whole."
"We strive to showcase local produce by giving it a chance to stand on its own with spirits as unique and as cared for as they are," he continues.
For instance, the new Tita is a mix of Cazadores tequila, mango shrub, jalapeno and habanero-chile-pepper essence, all topped with vanilla- infused coconut-lime foam and then finished off with Angostura bitters.
The Locavore Lilikoi is made with Kapalua Farms basil leaves, chile peppers from Merriman's garden, and limes from Kimo Farm all muddled with lilikoi juice from Tina Farms, Tanquerey gin and more. Happy hour runs daily from 3 to 5 p.m. with discounts on appetizers and drink specials, such as half off mai tais, $3 draft beers, and 25 percent off wines.
For more details, call Merriman's at 669-6400.