You can learn a lot about a culture by looking at what their drinking rituals look like. From afternoon tea in England to an Italian apertivo, our beverages tend to act as a tool of interpersonal connection, inspiring us to take a moment to relax with loved ones. Nowhere is this more true than on Oahu’s North Shore, where locals observe daily pau hana religiously. The practice requires little more than a spot on the beach and a beverage in hand, and in turn, it imparts tranquility and peace of mind. Jennifer Fiedler, author of The Essential Bar Book, is an expert on the topic. She joined us at our dinner party on The Pipeline to mix up a a paradise-worthy cocktail (recipe included!) and tell us a little bit more about what life on the island is like.
Tell us about drinking culture on the island. How would one drink as the locals do?
During the day, most of the people I know are pretty active when they’re not at work — surfing or hiking or just getting outside in general. But come sunset, there is a culture of pau hana, which means “after work,” where people have pupus (snacks) and a drink.
Sunsets on the North Shore are a real event — people really do gather on the beach to watch the sun go down. Everyone kind of takes a time-out to watch the show.
Since it’s so sunny and warm here, I’m usually looking for something refreshing — a lighter beer, a glass of rosé, or a spritzy cocktail. On occasion, usually when friends from out of town are visiting, we’ll go to a resort bar and do the whole Mai Tai’s-on-the-beach thing, which is fun for us too because it’s like a mini-vacation.
Tell us about The Bar Book.
The Bar Book is a super handy guide to just about everything you need to get started with cocktails. There are 115 easy recipes for classic cocktails and then an A-Z guide to everything from bar tools to techniques to different kinds of spirits, beer, and wine. I wrote it and I *still* sometimes reach for it as a reference. (And as a bonus, it looks cute on my bookshelf!)
The Sea Bird is so refreshing and light. It truly tastes like the tropics in a glass. What inspired this cocktail?
The Sea Bird is a riff on the tiki drink, the Jungle Bird, that I like to make when people come over. I swap Campari for Aperol to make it a little lighter and more beach party friendly. It’s fruity, bright-tasting, the prettiest color of pink, and I can use locally-made fruit juices and limes from my backyard. One easy trick to make it better is to find a good aged rum that gets its flavor and color from cask aging, not “spirit caramel” fillers. I like it because it’s a little less boozy than a lot of tiki-style drinks and super easy to make too, which is exactly the kind of non-fussy tropical vibe you want when you’re at the beach.
- 1 ½ oz. aged rum
¾ oz. Aperol
½ oz. fresh lime juice
1 ½ oz. pineapple juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup (optional)
Garnish: Pineapple spears, a pineapple wedge, or a lime wheel
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, around 20 to 30 seconds.
Strain over ice into a rocks glass and garnish with pineapple spears, a pineapple wedge, or a lime wheel.