If You Like Piña Coladas…

For my birthday, my husband surprised me with a night at Arancino at The Kahala. I was so excited for my meal because I had heard amazing things about the menu. What I didn’t expect was to be absolutely wowed by the drink selection. I can wholeheartedly tell you this: I have a new favorite watering hole on Oahu.

The first thing I noticed about Arancino was the trattoria-style setting — I felt like I’d be transported to Italy, so naturally my eyes gravitated toward the wine list. They have an extensive list of whites, reds and blushes, but what really caught my attention was the cocktail list. While short, it was stocked with unique combinations. The first cocktail that caught my eye was the Sangria Fiore, which features St. Germain Liqueur, an aromatic French liqueur that is made from handpicked elderflowers during a six-week period each spring. Sangria Fiore is meant to be shared, so I opted for the restaurant’s signature cocktail first — Arancino (pictured, right), a blend of Skyy Blood Orange vodka, Combier Liqueur D’orange, Funkin Passionfruit Pureé and cherry juice.

Everything about this cocktail is a tarty kick to your taste-buds. An initial aroma of blood orange ends with a delightful passionfruit aftertaste, as the pureé sits on the bottom of the glass. I am embarrassed to admit how quickly I drank this, because every sip was so refreshing. But in my defense, it was smaller than I had anticipated, so I had two before moving on to the Coco e Piña (pictured, left).

The Coco e Piña is the real reason I have found my new watering hole in Arancino. Made with coconut foam, pineapple juice and Kai Lemongrass Shochu, this drink is what island-inspired cocktail dreams are made of. It is served in a martini glass with the pineapple juice and shochu on the bottom and topped with a generous amount of coconut foam, so every sip is the perfect amount of liquid and cream. The tart pineapple juice blended with the sweet coconut cream is a dreamy combination all its own, but the fresh lime zest on top sends it to the irresistible category. This is not your mother’s piña colada — and that’s a good thing!

I finished the evening with a glass of the full-bodied Chianti Classico Riserva; I couldn’t leave an Italian restaurant without trying a red wine! Hints of cherry and raspberry made it a great nightcap to a delicious evening.