In The Spirit

New Westin Nanea launches monthly ag, beverage pairing

Toasting to the new In The Spirit series is the Westin Nanea Ocean Villas culinary team of Matt Hancock, the resort’s Restaurants and Bars Manager (from left); Ikaika Manaku, executive chef; and Ricky Hamasaki, the assistant director of Food & Beverage. Blinnk Photography images

The new Westin Nanea Ocean Villas in Kaanapali introduces “In the Spirit” — a monthly series celebrating local agriculture, beverages and cuisine at its signature Mauka Makai restaurant.

This series features specialty food pairings led by Executive Chef Ikaika Manaku and handcrafted cocktails created by the resort’s expert mixologists in a fun, social setting with live music.

“This unique experience will bring both visitors and residents together to enjoy a taste of the creative mixology program and innovative cuisine we have here at Mauka Makai,” said Ricky Hamasaki, the resort’s assistant director of food and beverage. “We’re also proud to further highlight our valued partnerships with local farmers, brewers and distillers.”

The In The Spirit series kicks off with Vodka and Potatoes from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday at the poolside and open-air Mauka Makai restaurant.

The menu features spud-inspired dishes highlighting products and produce sourced locally, such as Makaweli braised beef tongue from the famous ranch on Kauai, fresh hamachi cured with Maui’s Organic Ocean Vodka and ginger; and Maui venison with sweet potato fritters.

Ocean Organic Vodka cocktails will abound at the upcoming Vodka and Potatoes event. Blinnk Photography images

These and other tasty tater dishes will be paired with unique libations and specialty cocktails crafted in partnership with Ocean Vodka and other fine producers.

“Our mixologists have a nice laboratory to design cocktails with lots of depth and unique flavors,” says Hamasaki. “We are working hard to have our cocktail program match the caliber of our cuisine.”

For instance, on any given evening, you may sip the Hibiscus Margarita, mixed with Patron anejo tequila that is barrel-aging right in the restaurant.

“We make our own hibiscus syrup here and Patron made us an exclusive barrel with our own special tag that states how long it’s aged to become an anejo,” Hamasaki adds. “I’ve also dedicated my entire tap system to serve local beers.”

Situated on Kaanapali’s North Beach, the Westin Nanea also features the Inu pool bar with happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. daily and live music Wednesdays to Fridays.

The In the Spirit event is open to ages 21 and older and costs $65 per person. For more information or to make a reservation, call 662-6370 or you may visit