How to Make a Royal Hawaiian Cocktail

Categories: Last Call

JK Grence

It's certainly busy season around the restaurant. It's great to see endless streams of happy folks from out of town coming in to enjoy themselves. And the corresponding bump in my paycheck is pretty damn nice, too.

But I can't help but feel a little envious. I've found myself researching vacation destinations in what free time I can find. Once it gets blasted hot around here, I'll sneak out of town and have some getaways of my own.

Until then, I have to get creative. Naturally, a cocktail should be involved. I want something that's light, bright, and reminiscent of some faraway land. After a little poring through my library, I found one of my old favorite recipes.

The Royal Hawaiian cocktail has quite the long pedigree. It dates back to the 1920s, when the Royal Hawaiian Hotel was one of the first hotels in Waikiki. The drink was first known as a Princess Kaiulani, but by the 1950s it became the namesake signature cocktail of the hotel.

These days, if you look through the Royal Hawaiian's bar menu, you'll find a whole lot of Mai Tais (none of which are even close to a real Mai Tai), and no Royal Hawaiian cocktail in sight. It's quite the shame, really. The Royal Hawaiian is an elegant, delicious cocktail.

See also: How to Make the Perfect Mai Tai

You wouldn't think that gin and pineapple would go together all that well, but they marry in an exquisite fashion. The Royal Hawaiian isn't nearly as complicated as a Tiki potion, and it definitely isn't a juice-heavy sugar bomb of stereotypical umbrella drinks.

The secret ingredient is orgeat, adding a subtle base note. As always, a light touch is key with orgeat. Add too much, and it feels like you're drinking straight almond extract.

Make sure to give this drink a good hard shake. In lieu of a traditional garnish, the Royal Hawaiian features a layer of foam created by shaking pineapple juice.

Royal Hawaiian Cocktail
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 ounces London Dry gin
1 ounce pineapple juice
1/4 ounce orgeat syrup

Shake hard with ice cubes. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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