During our kayaking trip through Kauai, Eric and I learned a lot about Hawaii’s sugar cane plantations. We decided to delve even further into Kauai’s sugary history by sampling some authentic Kauai-made rum!
The Koloa Rum Company Tasting Room is on the grounds of the Historic Kilohana Plantation — the plantation estate of Hawaiian sugar baron Gaylord Wilcox. Today, the plantation serves as a historical site for tourists and families; complete with an agricultural park, hiking trails, restaurants, shopping, a railway, and, most importantly, the Koloa Rum Company!
Established in 2009, the Koloa Rum Company offers samples of the first and only Hawaiian-made rum. We arrived at the plantation ten minutes before the next tasting (tastings occur every half hour on the hour and half hour). We signed up on the register by the door and browsed the company store while we waited.
The tasting took place in a large bar next to the company store. Our hostess began by checking our IDs, then explained that, by law, we would be sampling only four of the company’s five rums. If we wanted to try the fifth, we would have to come back a different day (they alternate the selections daily). On our visit, we sampled the white rum, the dark rum, the spiced rum, and the coconut rum. The company’s fifth rum is a gold rum.
The first thing we did was make our own mini Mai Tais! Our hostess poured us each a shot glass of Kukui Brand Mai Tai mix. She encouraged us all to take a sip so that we would get an idea of the flavor, but not to drink it all right away. She then poured us a shot glass of white rum. Again, we were encouraged to sip the rum, then pour the rest into the Mai Tai mix.
Next, she refilled our second shot glass with dark rum. We tasted a sample of the dark rum before carefully pouring it, lip to lip, into the Mai Tai to create a dark rum float. And then we drank those suckers. Delicious.
The remaining rums we tried by themselves. The spiced rum was delightfully spicy with a little kick. The coconut rum was creamy and smooth; tropical, but lighter than Malibu (which is the coconut rum I’m most familiar with).
As if trying these tasty rums wasn’t exciting enough, our hostess finished up our experience by slicing each of us a small piece of rum cake — made in-house with their dark rum. It was phenomenal. Perfectly moist and soft, it was the best rum cake I’ve ever tasted. Our tiny samples weren’t sufficient; Eric and I bought our own cake to share, which we later devoured on our lanai.
I highly recommend a stop at the Koloa Rum Company on your next trip to Kauai. It’s a great spot to visit if you have a few spare hours in the middle of your day, and a unique experience you won’t find elsewhere in Hawaii.