Well, shame on me! I looked at the pale blue bottle with 1950s surfer and tiki-bar tones and was determined that this wasn’t going to be my cup of tea. But wait! A little sip and one’s mixologist’s mind is racing. A second taste has one detecting an exotic tapestry of flavours.
British ex-pat Stephen Thorp’s U.S. surf bar offered his celebrated signature cocktails. He experimented with various concoctions to find the right combination of alcohol, fruit, and spices. In fact it took Stephen 65 attempts at the recipes before he found cocktail perfection. Thus, we have the explanation of part of the name. Aloha is Hawaiian for hello, but it also signals a fun-loving and laid-back attitude to life.
Aloha 65 is somewhat unique. It isn’t a flavoured gin and has far more character than most flavoured vodkas. I suspect it’s a vodka-like spirit as a base, infused with fresh pineapple, lemon, ginger, scotch-bonnet chillies, herbs and spices. It’s well-balanced and ideal for devising exotic cocktails. The pineapple, lemon and ginger are very much to the fore, but that spice lingers on its long finish.
A Chilli hit
Aloha 65 can be consumed as a shot, although I always consider that downing shots is an insult to a well-crafted spirit, and not a pastime for anybody over the age of eighteen. Enjoy that shot measure neat, but consumed slowly, over plenty of ice. My preferred cocktail is an Aloha Daiquiri with extra sharpness from the addition of lime juice. Present this over crushed ice with lots of sunshine.
Ingredients (makes 1 cocktail)
50ml Aloha 65
25ml fresh lime juice
5ml sugar syrup
Lime to garnish
Add all the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well to chill. Strain into a frosty glass.
Aloha 65 is all-natural, vegan, and lower in alcohol than many of its competitors. Its chilli heat makes this a more complex spirit infusion than many on the market.