The farm to table movement of locally sourcing menus in the hospitality industry has been all the rage for years with Chefs like Alice Waters leading the charge. However, one thing has remained relatively untapped, the bar. Mosts bars are set up fairly similarly. The tap beer selection is most likely a combination of local and international favorites with the wine list sporting a local wine if available then a laundry list of international favorites. However, on the Garden Isle of Kauai, one business, Nani Moon Meadery, has taken farm to table to the next level with 100% locally grown, sourced, and made mead.
You may not be familiar with mead. I certainly wasn’t. I vaguely remember reading about this six thousand year old fermented honey wine in books, but I had never tried it. Upon finishing an adventure in Kauai’s majestic Waimea Canyon, I came down the winding road and drove to the East side of the island to Kapa’a. Passing former Coco Palms Hotel, two grocery stores, and turning at Kauai Pasta, I parked eager to taste my first mead.
I entered the intimate space of the Nani Moon Meadery, which is where its mead is fermented as well as its tasting room. With local artists’ works gracing the space and comfortable lounge area and bar, I admittedly approached the female bartender as a mead virgin. “I’ve tried many a beer and wine before. I’ve never tried mead. Wanna walk me through it?”
With a quick twist of my arm, I decided to take the bartender up on a tasting flight of six meads. Always a fan of light, white wines or bold, big reds, I knew I would be a tough sell or at least so I thought. I started with the Laka’s Nectar, which is made with honey and the Ohia’ai, mountain apple. It didn’t knock it out of the park for me, but nor does every beer or wine at my previous tastings. After accessing my preferences, the bartender led me to taste both the Pineapple Guava Sunset and Pineapple Lime. They both were outstandingly crisp with light fruitiness. They were my two favorites.
As the meads became bolder with heavier spices such as ginger, cacao, vanilla, and even chili pepper, I asked about mead mixology. Sure enough, Nani Moon Meadery and Tasting Room often creates signature cocktails using its meads. I inquired about some of them with the two stronger in flavor meads, Ginger Spice and Deviant Beehavior. As a lover of the Moscow Mule (ginger beer and vodka), I was not surprised that Nani Moon has created its version with its Ginger Spice. The bartender said that her favorite was the Chili Margarita prepared with its Deviant Behavior.
When traveling, I try to support local farms, businesses, and farm to table practices. As a part-time resident on Kauai, I would recommend a stop at Nani Moon Meadery. Nowhere else in the world will you be able to enjoy 100% Hawaiian mead or 100% of the aina (land) unless you order a shipment. When in Hawaii, take in the aloha and enjoy the aina.
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Here’s to more good times and good stories!