Time Flies When You’re Having Rum

Metro-081916-BarkeepAfter I sampled Ko Hana Agricole Rum one night, I wanted to learn more about the boutique distillery that creates sugar cane-based liquor. So I sought out Robert Dawson, the co-founder and distiller of Manulele Distillers in Kunia, where the rum is handcrafted from farm to bottle.

Manulele Distillers grows sugarcane that is harvested by hand, pressed to create juice and then distilled.

“We harvest, distill and bottle in single varietals only, thereby capturing the essence and flavor unique to each of the 36 varietals we grow,” Dawson told me.

Manulele began as a farm in an effort to see if sugar cane could be grown in a sustainable way. Not only was the effort successful, it evolved into Hawaii’s first and only distillery that produces agricole rum.

In addition to producing rum, Manulele also is a dedicated conservator of sugarcane.

“The Hawaiian word for sugar cane is ‘Ko’ and the word for work is ‘Hana’. We truly see our brand Ko Hana as a celebration of the work of the sugar cane,” Dawson says.

“We work closely with the scientific community, universities and botanical gardens to preserve these distinctive and exceptional plants for future generations to enjoy. It took us years and visits to nearly all of the main Hawaiian islands to compile what we believe is the most comprehensive collection of Hawaiian Ko anywhere in the world.”

I grabbed a bottle of the Ko Hana KEA, known for its full flavor and bottled at 80 proof, to take home to my test kitchen. I whipped up a citrusy treat that is refreshing and allows the taste of fresh-pressed sugar cane to shine!

You Will Need:

4 tablespoons fruit puree (I used raspberries, blueberries and strawberries)

5 ounces lemon seltzer water

3 ounces Ko Hana KEA
1 lime wedge crushed ice

1. Muddle the fruit in the bottom of a glass tumbler or copper mug.
2. Add in crushed ice.
3. Pour seltzer and Ko Hana over ice and stir well.
4. Squeeze fresh lime on top and enjoy!

For more recipe ideas, or to purchase your own bottle for tasting, visit kohanarum.com.