Drink in the Nostalgia at South Maui’s Luana Lounge

I lifted the dewy-surfaced brandy snifter to my nose and inhaled the soft aroma of smoked kiawe wood and rich vanilla. As I sipped the bourbon-centric concoction, the smokiness filled my senses with the simple, yet full-bodied taste of the Logsdon Cocktail as it traveled across my tastebuds taking me back to an oak-paneled reading room of a distant time.

While simple in taste, the brain-child of Luana Lounge Mixologist, Aaron Alcala-Mosley, the Logsdon Cocktail is actually anything but simple, and it is no wonder Alcala-Mosley won Best Mixologist in MauiTime’s Best of Maui 2017 issue. This cocktail is an inspiring work of artistry and skill.

This particular night, we were served by Aaron’s equally-skilled co-Mixologist, Chris, at Luana Lounge during their Friday Night Films event, which occurs on every fourth Friday (and occasionally the Fifth Friday) in their classic Luana Lounge. Stepping into the small and unassuming lounge is like stepping into 1940s Hawaii. The ocean backdrop, the tropical breeze, and the classically-styled bar portray an era of old-school nostalgic Hawaii without the kitsch of many open-air bars in a tropical environment.

Chris stands behind the bar dressed comfortably in a respectable aloha shirt polishing a glass. He greets us with his usual smile and welcomes us to the bar. Anthony and I have been regulars at Friday Night Films since June, and since our first visit, Chris has become familiar with our liquid likes.

He serves up (literally) a Basil Shmasil with Botanist Gin, almond and citrus-spiced liqueur, lime, basil, and Angostura Bitters and places it in front of Anthony, who takes in the basil aroma with an expression of cool bliss as I sip my yummy rummy pineapple concoction.  My cocktail — dubbed the Rum-Ba-Dum — contained a shrub made from grilled pineapple, and was nicely balanced from its rum to its ba-dum.

The highlight of our evening was the aforementioned Logsdon Cocktail crafted with Wood Reserve Bourbon, Benedictine, Cardamaro, Angostura and Creole Bitters, and Kiawe vanilla smoke. The taste is full-bodied, yet still gentle, and the execution is equally exciting.

With torch in hand, Chris fires upon the vanilla and kiawe pieces and then places the brandy snifter like a dome over the smoky remnants.. The smoke sealed inside coats the glass, and is not released until the mix of liquor is poured into the foggy glass. The result is a treat for the nose and tastebuds combined. I was reminded of my grandfather with his wood pipe balanced between his lips, old tobacco shops, and wood-paneled reading rooms on-board 1930s ocean liners. Anthony remarked that the smoky aroma transports you back to the library stacks in 1890.

Whether it’s the stacks of 1890, the mai tai of 1944, or a hipster cocktail Luana Lounge serves it up. Open Monday through Sunday from :5:00 pm – 11:59 pm, Luana Lounge has you covered.

Check out their Friday Luana Experience Series:

  • 1st Friday – Firkin Friday tapping beer straight from the keg in partnership with Maui BrewCo
  • 2nd Friday – Project Cocktail shaking things up with themed cocktails
  • 3rd Friday – The Grape Escape featuring wine pairings in partnership with MauiWine Southern Wine & Spirits
  • 4th Friday – Friday Night Films with cocktails inspired by classic films like King Kong and Mutiny on the Bounty

Luana Lounge at Fairmont Kea Lani

4100 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea, Maui

808 875 4100


Written by