Halekulani Cocktail Recipe

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Halekulani Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Halekulani cocktail is a classic tropical drink that originated at the House Without a Key bar in the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii. The hotel opened in 1917, and the cocktail has been a favorite among guests ever since. The name Halekulani means 'house befitting heaven' in Hawaiian, and the cocktail is said to embody the spirit of the hotel and its beautiful surroundings.

  • The cocktail was created by a bartender named Harry Yee in the 1950s
  • It is a popular choice for those looking to enjoy a taste of Hawaii's tropical paradise
  • The Halekulani Hotel is known for its luxurious accommodations and stunning views of Waikiki Beach

How Halekulani Tastes?

The Halekulani cocktail is a delightful blend of sweet, sour, and fruity flavors. The combination of pineapple juice, lemon juice, and grenadine creates a refreshing and tangy base, while the rum and Cointreau add a smooth, warming kick. The result is a well-balanced, tropical taste that is both invigorating and soothing.

Interesting facts about Halekulani

  • The Halekulani cocktail is sometimes referred to as the 'House Without a Key' cocktail, after the bar where it was created
  • The cocktail is often garnished with a beautiful orchid flower, adding an extra touch of Hawaiian flair
  • The Halekulani Hotel has been featured in several films and television shows, including the 1961 Elvis Presley movie 'Blue Hawaii'


Light Rum

Light rum is the backbone of this cocktail, offering a smooth and subtle sweetness that doesn't overpower the other ingredients. Using 1 oz keeps the drink balanced. If you pour in too much, all you'll taste is a pirate's regret, and too little will make the other flavors walk the plank.

Mary Mitkina


Cointreau brings a bitter orange peel zing and helps to bind and enhance the cocktail's overall profile. At 0.5 oz, it's like the perfect wingman; it makes everything better without stealing the show. Without it, you'll lose that classy depth.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice adds that crucial acidic zing; it's what turns a flat sea into rolling waves for your taste buds. Here, 0.5 oz is the sweet spot—enough to notice but not enough to pucker up like you kissed a lemon. No lemon, no lift-off.

Alex Green

Pineapple Juice

This is your tropical holiday in a glass. The 1 oz of pineapple juice gives a sweet, tangy flavor that makes the drink sunny and bright. Skip it, and it's like forgetting sunscreen at the beach—it just won't feel right.

Mary Mitkina


Grenadine's like the sunset in your cocktail—just a dash, 0.25 oz, paints a picture of sweet serenity. It also adds a touch of color and deep sweetness. No grenadine, you miss the romance.

Mary Mitkina

Orchid Flower

And for that Instagram-worthy garnish, an orchid flower doesn't just pretty up the glass; it adds a tropical sophistication to the whole affair. It's not for tasting, it's for toasting!

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Halekulani Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  2. Add the light rum, Cointreau, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine
  3. Shake well until chilled and combined
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass
  5. Garnish with an orchid flower

Pro Tips

  • Chill the glass before pouring the cocktail to keep it cool longer.
  • Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for a more vibrant flavor.
  • Shake the cocktail vigorously to properly mix the ingredients and create a frothy top.

Perfect Pairings


  • Shrimp Ceviche: The zesty and tropical notes of the Halekulani cocktail complement the fresh acidity and seafood flavors in ceviche.
  • Charcuterie Board: Choose a board with lighter fare, such as prosciutto and melon, to echo the cocktail's fruitiness.
  • Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce: The citrus in the drink cuts through the richness of the sauce and pairs wonderfully with grilled flavors.


  • Lemon Sorbet: Keep it light and refreshing with a citrus sorbet that mirrors the lemon in the cocktail.
  • Pineapple Upside-Down Cake: The pineapple in both the cake and the drink will create a harmonious tropical flavor experience.

Non-Alcoholic Pairings

  • Sparkling Water with a Lime Twist: This keeps the palate cleansed without overpowering the cocktail's flavors.
  • Iced Green Tea: Its subtle bitterness and aromatic qualities can accent the cocktail's sweetness and citrus notes.

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What you could change in Halekulani

  • Light rum can be replaced with dark rum for a deeper flavor.
  • Cointreau can be substituted with Triple Sec.
  • If orchid flowers are not available, maraschino cherries can be used for garnish.

Explore all drinks starting with H here

And of course - twists🍹

Spiced Rum Twist

  • Replace light rum with spiced rum (1 oz)
  • This infuses the cocktail with flavors of vanilla and warming spices.
  • The cocktail becomes a tad more robust and autumnal, perfect for cooler evenings.

Passion Fruit Delight

  • Add 0.5 oz of passion fruit syrup to the original recipe.
  • The tropical flavors are intensified, and the cocktail gains a lush sweetness.
  • It's like taking the Halekulani and giving it a sun-kissed glow—flirtatious and fun.

Hibiscus Dream

  • Use hibiscus-infused syrup in place of grenadine (0.25 oz).
  • The drink will have a tart, floral complexity and a striking crimson hue.
  • It's like a regular Halekulani putting on its best red dress, ready to dance through the night.

In case you forgot basics how to make Halekulani

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Halekulani

What type of glass is best to serve the Halekulani cocktail?

A chilled cocktail glass, such as a martini glass, is the best choice. This allows the flavors to converge at the base and concentrate towards the rim.

Is the Halekulani cocktail a good choice for a beginner cocktail maker?

Yes, the Halekulani cocktail uses classic cocktail making techniques, such as shaking and straining, which makes it a feasible option for beginners who want to challenge themselves a bit.

Can Halekulani cocktail be made in batch for parties?

Yes, all you need to do is scale up the recipe proportionally. However, be sure to add the ice right before serving to keep the cocktail chilled but not diluted.

How can you make the Halekulani cocktail non-alcoholic?

You can substitute the light rum with pineapple soda or ginger ale, and the Cointreau with an orange flavor syrup or juice.

Why is shaking important when making a Halekulani cocktail?

Shaking helps to quickly chill the cocktail, dilute it just enough for a smooth flavor, and combine all the ingredients together.

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