Three drinks for me at BLT

I’ll be completely honest with you: I’m not usually impressed with hotel bars or chains. Sure, they might make for a convenient place to grab a drink, while you wait for your room to be ready, but overall the drinks are adequate and the atmosphere is too “professional” and plain. Like come on, at least get some fun neon sign art to make the vibes less boring. More often than not, there’s simply not enough to write home a column about.

My opinion changed drastically the moment I walked into BLT Steak, a swanky chophouse connected to the Trump Waikiki. Vibrant flowers and a tropically colored backlit bar pop against rich wood flooring and moody lighting – an invitation for imbibing.

You might expect a pretentious vibe with this setup, but when the server starts with, “How can I best serve you tonight?”, I couldn’t help but feel like I was kicking back with my new best friend.

After speaking with Dane Tuzzio, BLT’s Sommelier, I learned the drink menu recently had been completely revamped, so I was eager to dive in.

I started with The Duke (below), a delicious blend of Templeton Rye, Aperol, orange, lemon lime and brown sugar syrup. On my first sip, I felt like I was drinking the nectar of a blood orange back on my honeymoon in Costa Rica. It was refreshing and smooth, yet satisfyingly strong.

For round two, I chose the Pineapple Basil (below, center), an aromatic mix of Stoli, Falernum, fresh muddled pineapple and basil. If you’re a lover of pineapple or fruit-forward beverages, consider this your new go-to. Not nearly as strong as The Duke, I loved the light, sweet flavors and classic Hawaiian vibe of this drink.

Admittedly, I had a buzz from just these two beverages, but when there’s a Salted Caramel Martini on the menu, it just begs to be consumed. This dessert drink was a powerful combination of sweet and salty. I love a strong martini, and the bartender must have read my mind – the first sip knocked my socks off! An added bonus was that the rim was heavily lined with a sugary salt mix, which made each sip delicious.

Whether you’re seeking a fancy date-night idea or a great spot to gather with friends, BLT’s new bar menu is a can’t-miss in Waikiki.