Kauai, the very name of this Hawaiian island invites romantic visions of orange sunsets, steep black cliffs kissed with sea mist, beautiful ocean hues, and iconic views of sweeping bays crowned by steep mountains. Kauai, known as the “garden island” because of the lush green landscape in some parts of the island due to rain, is a haven to explore. There are spectacular views, miles of beaches, golf courses, Hawaiian cultural activities, lovely restaurants, outstanding food trucks, beautiful resorts, and a plethora of outdoor activities. Kauai also has many island-made products. Koloa Premium Hawaiian Rum Company Distillers, is one of these home-grown companies that have come into national prominence.

You can visit the Koloa Rum tasting room and company store located at the Kilohana Plantation in Lihue town for an informative tasting. They are open at 9:30 am and for a schedule and details please visit koloarum.com . Koloa Rum’s story starts with the story of sugar plantations on Kauai. The first sugar plantation and mill began on Kauai in 1835 and the last commercial harvest of sugar was earlier this decade. Kauai’s identity was tied to sugar plantations from the late 1880’s until sugar left the island. Koloa Rum uses island sugar and in a way still keeps the sugar heritage alive. The tasting room located in Kilohana Plantation is definitely worth a visit. And I love the gift shop offering their products and logo wear.

Beautiful Kilohana was a sugar plantation manager’s estate built by Gaylord P. Wilcox in the early 1900’s. It is a large home for the time and has imported wooden ceiling moldings from England, antiques from the Orient and fine art from Hawaii. It was designed by a prominent architect who also did several mansions in the Diamond Head area of Oahu, Mark Potter. Mr. Potter created deep pitched roof lines and generous lanais onto the gardens throughout also allowing the tradewinds to circulate and cool the home. Standing in the “gallery hall” here you can easily imagine the elegance in which a plantation manager lived when “sugar was king”. You can stay awhile and enjoy a meal here at Gaylord’s restaurant featuring greens and fruits grown right on the plantation, and enjoy looking out to the gardens or stop in for a famous Mai Tai made with macerated sugarcane from the plantation garden in the Mahiko Lounge, formerly the family’s living room.

Now back to the rum. Koloa Premium Hawaiian Rum is produced in small batches and double-distilled in Kauai. They make several premium Hawaiian rums: White, Gold, Dark, Spice, Coconut and Coffee. I have tasted all of them and it is obvious to me why they have won so many domestic and international awards for their rums. You can order through your liquor store, so just ask for them. There is also a Mai Tai mix, ready-made minis of Mai Tais and Rum Punch, Koloa Rum Cake, and sauces that are excellent for gifting. With the holidays coming up Koloa Premium Hawaiian Rum wanted to share their recipe for a warming adult drink created by Ryan Sanford and Joel Downs of Oasis on the Beach, Kauai.

For more recipes visit them online: www.koloarum.com 

Macadamia Nut Buttered Rum

  • 1 ½ ounce Macadamia Nut butter ( see below)
  • 1 ½ ounce Koloa Dark Rum
  • Whipped Cream
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon

For Mac Nut butter:

  • Grind Mac nuts in food processor on low. Refrigerate.


  • Put all ingredients in a mug. Add 5 ounce of hot water.
  • Stir, and then Garnish with whipped cream and a sprinkle (or two) of nutmeg and cinnamon.