National Cocktail Day, March 24th. - Kukui'ula

National Cocktail Day, March 24th.

A day to gather and celebrate your cherished libation.

On March 24th, people from all around the country will gather to raise a glass for their favorite cocktail. National Cocktail Day was founded in 2013 by freelance writer, columnist, and holidaymaker guru, Jace Shoemaker-Galloway, as a fun and entertaining way to celebrate and shine a light on the best ways to savor a satisfying drink. Whether it be a classic, on-the-rocks cocktail, a fruity, slushy, colorful summer refresher tiki drink, or the creation of some mad mixologist bending, blending, and blurring the lines of art, science, and common sense.

It’s believed that cocktails originated in the United States. The first written mention of ‘cocktail’ as a beverage appeared in the New Hampshire newspaper, The Farmers Cabinet, in 1803. While this is partly true, cocktails were actually inspired by British punches from the 18th century. British holiday punches were big bowls of spirits mixed with fruit juice, spice, and other flavors.

Traditionally, cocktails are a mixture of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters, and some mixed drinks today still conform to this, such as the Old-Fashioned Whiskey cocktail. Some cocktails, such as the MojitoManhattan, and Martini, have become staples in restaurants and pop culture.

The National Day that almost never was.

When the National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act) turned into the 18th Amendment and went into effect on January 17, 1920, the cocktail world was thrown in a loop. Even though Prohibition sent the cocktail industry underground, it still dealt a major blow. Speakeasies began to sell inferior liquor because it was easier to produce illicitly. Then they started adding honey, fruit juice, and other flavorings to mask the foul taste of this liquor, enabling customers to drink faster, which was very important in case of a raid. On December 5, 1933, the 18th Amendment was repealed, and the art of the cocktail and mixology reappeared from the shadows.

Pouring in a new era.

By the late 50s, with serviceman returning from duty in the Pacific, the Tiki culture started to rise. But it wasn’t until Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt’s, Don the Beachcomber, Hollywood restaurant was opened that the Tiki craze took off. Meanwhile, Victor Bergeron opened his competing location, Trader Vic’s, in San Francisco, boosting the popularity of exotic tropical and colorful mixed drinks. Many of these drinks were part of the tourist experience here in Hawaii. They included cocktails like the Mai Tai, Singapore Sling, Sex on the Beach, Strawberry Daiquiri, Zombies, Pina Colada, and the classic Blue Hawaiian. The trend died down in the late 1970s when the sluggish economy took a turn for the worse.

However, beginning in the first decade of a new century we saw the rise of the “Maker” and “Craft” movements, and the rebirth of the Tiki culture. People like Dale Degroff, of New York’s famous Rainbow Room, spurred the cocktail renaissance, bringing historical values and strict quality standards back into vogue. This new era saw drinks like The Pink Squirrel, Sour Cherry Negroni, Blood Orange Margarita, shooters such as Training Bra, and reimagined Tiki drinks. Today, there is a substantial cocktail culture in the art of mixology, which draws on traditional cocktails, but uses novel ingredients, complex flavors, and a dare to try attitude.

Kauai twist on a classic cocktail.

For this National Cocktail Day, we tapped into Kukuiʻula’s resident mixologist and seasoned bartender, Dominic Johnson. His keep-it-simple, keep-it-classic take on the traditional Whiskey Sour is the epitome of a great cocktail. But we feel the “local” ingredients push this classic Whiskey Sour into another level ofenjoyment.

One of the great benefits of living at Kukuiʻula is access to a bounty of locally sourced ingredients that expand and enhance the cocktail experience. From an abundance of lush and exotic fruits to mix and garnish with, to the foundational elements of distilled spirits in the form of sugar cane, corn, and potatoes. Key ingredients like lemons and eggs, are collected fresh from the Farm at Kukuiʻula.

Dom’s secret component might be Kauai’s very own Kapahi Bourbon. Made from Hawaii-grown corn and the finest rye and barley grains, this American bourbon is painstakingly handcrafted to perfection. Twice distilled in Washington, it’s traditionally aged for no less than two years in charred new American Oak barrels and is never blended. The result of this handcrafted bourbon yields a delicately smooth, full-flavored spirit that is best enjoyed with Kauai cigars, chocolate, or both.

With a few other easy-to-find ingredients, you can follow the recipe and enjoy this wonderful cocktail. Or, if you’re looking for the company of kindred souls in the spirit of celebrating a well-crafted cocktail, Members and Lodge Guests can always join Dom and the staff at The Club at Kukuiʻula, this National Cocktail Day.

If you miss us on March 24th, don’t worry. There’s always International Cocktail Day on Monday, May 13th. No one is exactly sure who first created cocktails, but the world is more than grateful to them. ʻŌkole maluna!


Kukuiʻula Whiskey Sour

By Dominic Johnson


  • 1.5oz Kapahi Bourbon
  • 0.75oz simple syrup
  • 0.5oz lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz egg whites
  • 1 dash of bitters
  • Garnish with lemon twist

Directions: Add all ingredients to shaker and dry shake (no ice) for 20 seconds. Add ice and shake for 15 seconds. Strain into chilled glass with big rock ice cube. Add dash of bitters and garnish with lemon twist.


Send pictures and stories of your version of this recipe by tagging us on Instagram, @kukuiula, #kukuiularecipes.


Kukui‘ula embodies Ho‘okipa—heartfelt Hawaiian hospitality. We invite you to join us by staying connected. And don’t worry! We promise to only send you the good stuff.


Stay Connected

Kukui‘ula embodies Ho‘okipa—heartfelt Hawaiian hospitality. We invite you to join us by staying connected. And don’t worry! We promise to only send you the good stuff.


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