Cocktail list: best of Oahu’s Halekulani and Halepuna

by James Wilkinson

The Halekulani and Halepuna are known as two of the leading hotels in Waikiki, where alongside stylish rooms and suites you’ll find some of the best food and drinks in Honolulu.

Headlining the bar team is Lead Mixologist and Oahu native, Tuda Grehan, who oversees the drinks program at both hotels, including House Without A Key, which serves up some of the best cocktails in Honolulu.

Grehan focuses on finding new ways to elevate the guest’s experience by executing the smooth and flawless operation of all outlets with beverage service.

Born and raised on Oahu, Grehan moved to New York at the age of 16 and later earned a degree in Fine Arts from The Cooper Union College with a focus in printmaking, photography, and bookmaking.

Using her specialized art background, Grehan stepped up to the challenge of crafting unique beverages tailored to each customer’s preference as she started her career as a bartender in New York City, immersed in a culture that was looking for more than the conventional cocktail.

After New York, she returned to Honolulu to work at Grondin, the French Latin restaurant and bar in Chinatown, as well as a bartender at Waikiki’s Maui Brewing Company and Morimoto Asia before taking on the Head Bartender at Halekulani Bakery and Restaurant at Halepuna Waikiki.

Grehan has been instrumental in leading the beverage team in creating the new signature drinks for the Earl’s Pool Bar at House Without A Key and is now working on updating the drinks for Lewers Lounge.

By challenging herself to use specific ingredients or make custom infusions, Grehan believes each aspect in a cocktail serves a specific purpose.

While creating a memorable experience for guests which evokes all senses, she enjoys sharing her passion for the history and methods of cocktail making as a craft and as a cultural staple.


How to make some of Oahu’s best drinks at home, courtesy of Tuda Grehan.

Glass: Rocks or highball
-2 orange slices
-¼ oz Calamansi Syrup
-¾ oz Lime Juice
-½ oz Coconut syrup
-1 oz Pineapple Juice
-½ oz Dry Curacao
-¾ oz Kuleana Rum
-¾ oz KoHana Kea Rum
Method: Shake and strain into prepped glass (with coconut sugar rim) with new ice. Float .5 oz Old Lahaina Dark Rum and garnish.
Garnish: Dehydrated pineapple and cherry pick

Glass: Rocks or highball
-2 bottles of white wine
-1 cup brandy
-½ cup simple syrup
-2 cups pineapple juice
-1 ½ oz Peach Schnapps
-12 cups of combined fresh fruit chunks – pineapple, watermelon, and limes (cubed)
*4 cups cubed watermelon
*4 cups cubed pineapple
*4 limes sliced into wheels
-Splash of Orange Blossom Water (see method)
Method: Mix and chill for four or more hours before enjoying. Serve over ice with fruit chunks and top with club soda. Garnish with dehydrated pineapple and edible flowers. Spritz the top with a splash of orange blossom water.
Garnish: Dehydrated pineapple and edible flowers

“The Gathering place is Halepuna Waikiki’s exclusive cabana refresher,” said Grehan. “This refreshing summer sangria was inspired by our island of Oahu, fondly known as the ‘Gathering Place’, welcoming visitors from all of the world.”


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To find out what’s hot and new at Hawaiian, click on the YouTube video above.