The Hawaiian


 An old drink comprised of pineapple juice, gin and triple sec.

Like several old cocktails, the Hawaiian has differences in the recipe depending on the source.  So far, I can find two slightly different recipes.  We can see in the Savoy Cocktail Book, a Hawaiian cocktail involving gin, orange juice and curacao (Craddock 82).  This drink, while giving off a bit of a fruity flavor is rather similar to an Orange Blossom, and as such, doesn’t really give off the Hawaiian or tropical vibe expected from an appropriately named drink.  The other recipe, which Regan points out as having been found in the 1935 edition of Old Mr. Boston, replaces the orange juice with pineapple juice and muddles around with the proportions to make it more balanced (Regan 265).  This version seems more appropriately named Hawaiian.

The name Old Mr. Boston probably doesn’t mean much to a lot of people, likely because most people don’t go through liquor books.  Originally a distillery, it produced gin, brandy, liqueurs and other liquid libations; the distillery was operational in Boston from 1933 to 1986 at 1010 Massachusetts Ave. in Roxbury, which is ironically the current site of Boston’s Public Health Commission (Glenn).  Old Mr. Boston created a liquor book, one that was and is many times still found within a lot of home bars; the guide, known as Old Mr. Boston, was originally created in 1935, but has recently been renovated to bring back a sense of liveliness to the antiquated tome of cocktails (Clarke).

Even though the distillery has changed hands several times, Mr. Boston products still exist.  The brand was acquired in 1980 by a Kentucky company that removed the epithet “old” (Glenn).  In 1995, Constellation bought the company (Ibid), only to see it change hands once again in 2009, this time to Sazerac, a company based out of New Orleans.  Over these shifts, Mr. Boston has seen quite a few changes to its’ trademark name, but the cocktail book still has some sort of respect, given that in 2008 a revised edition of the antiquated book was released with the guidance and input of many cocktail experts (Clarke).

While the drink is perfectly fine on its’ own, Regan adjusts the recipe by adding in a couple dashes of Angostura bitters, an act which works quite well to bring out a bit more complexity in the cocktail.  The spice notes from the Angostura work lovingly to pair the herbaceous and floral notes as a good gin with the flavors of the pineapple.  The Angostura help out to maximize the pairing between a London dry gin and the juice; however, it isn’t as if the flavors of juniper do not go lovingly hand in hand with the crispness of the pineapple.  For a neat variation on the cocktail, switch out the gin for Steinhäger, a German “gin,” which is more appropriately called a juniper eau de vie when made properly (Jackson 120).  Or, if you prefer a more earthy / grain oriented taste, switch out the London dry with a Genevieve like Bols Genever.  Both versions still benefit from the added flavor of the Angostura bitters.

The Hawaiian:

2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce pineapple juice, unsweetened
2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional)

Combine the ingredients in a shaker tin, shaking to chill.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


Clarke, Paul.  2009.  “Serious Cocktails: How Old Mr. Boston Got His Groove Back.”  Serious Eats.  Originally published March 25, 2009. (accessed October 22, 2010).

Craddock, Henry.  1999.  The Savoy Cocktail Book.  Originally published 1930.  London: Pavilion Books.

Glenn, Joshua.  2003.  “Looking for Mr. Boston.”  The Boston Globe.  Originally published December 28, 2003. (accessed October 22, 2010).

Jackson, Michael.  1995.  Michael Jackson’s Bar and Cocktail Companion: The Connoisseur’s Handbook.  Originally published 1979.  Philadelphia: Running Press.

Regan, Gary.  2003.  The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender’s Craft.  New York: Random House.