Make your own mai tai!

What better way to enjoy a mai tai than to make it yourself — free!

Resident “rum slinger” Nikki Munroe is ready to pour at the Koloa Rum Co. company store and tasting room one mile south of Lihu‘e at the historic Kolohana Plantation.

Free tastings (and yes, you will be carded!) are available every 30 minutes.

You begin with a taste-testing of the company’s proprietary blend of fresh juices (and who knows what else, they won’t tell us, and who cares, it’s so good) and cane sugar that is their Koloa Rum Mai Tai Mix.

All of Koloa Rum’s award-winning rums are 80 proof and made at the company’s distillery in Kalaheo.

“We double-distill our rum to get rid of all impurities,” she says, which is something she also points out is not done by other rum-making enterprises. The white rum is so smooth, you can sip it neat, but it makes mixed drinks heavenly, as does the gold. The dark rum is a best-seller and has won the most awards, and when you taste it, you know why. This rum is made with a heady hint of vanilla.

“You can get a buzz and smell good,” Munroe smiles. We dabbed a bit behind our ears. Nice. If they bottled it in perfume jars, would they call it — “Intoxicating?”

“Next year, look for us to have coconut room,” says Munroe to applause from local visitors and tourists lining the long bar. There is not a turned up nose or frown from anyone, as we take a sip of the white, then the gold, then the proprietary spiced rum and then the dark.

The mai tai mix we sipped has been set aside. Each time we take a sip, we pour a little gold, a little white (a little spiced? Your choice) into the mai tai mix. At the end, we gently, oh, so very gently pour a float of the dark rum left in our shot glass into the mai tai shot glass. Perfection! And what fun!

But the party’s not over yet. Next comes a sliver of rum cake infused with that famous dark rum drizzled with chocolate fudge rum sauce.

You can buy all the ingredients, all the rums, and crates of rum cakes and sauces right next door at the Koloa Rum Co. store. You can even purchase miniature casks to age your own rum.

For more information, call 246-8900 or visit www.koloarum.com. Are you sitting at your office desk reading this? Why? Tastings begin at 10 a.m.

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