Our Free Rum Tasting On Kauai, Hawaii

by joeheg

In between checking out from our amazing room at the Grand Hyatt Kauai on the southern shore and traveling to our Airbnb in Princeville, we had several hours to kill.

During our visit to Lydgate Farms to taste some Hawaiian chocolate, we learned that they provided cocoa beans to a local distillery to make chocolate rum and then used the rum-soaked beans to make rum-chocolate bars (Note from Sharon: “Two great tastes that taste great together…” Anyone? Anyone?).

We tried the chocolate during our tour and it was wonderful. That led us to wanting to sample the rum that came from those beans. The only way to try the rum was to visit the Kōloa Rum tasting room.

Fortunately, the tasting room was located just off the main road and a visit to the tasting room was free. All we had to do was sign up in the gift shop a few minutes before the tour. Here are the current guidelines for tours from the website.

*TASTINGS ARE EVERY 60 MINUTES. Complimentary Rum tastings. First Tasting at 10:15am and then every 1 hour, on the hour until 4pm.

We do not take Reservations. Same day sign up. Must be present and have a valid photo ID. No infants or children allowed in the Tasting Room.

Award-Winning Samples of Dark, Spice, Coconut, Coffee Rum & our NEW Cacao Rum

We ask that you arrive and be checked in 10 mins prior to your tasting. If not, your reservation may be given to the next person in line. Thank you for your understanding!

I can tell you that if you’re able to visit a rum tasting, and if you like rum, this is a wonderful 1-hour event.

two shot glasses on a table

The Kōloa Rum tasting room serves samples of several varieties that are available at the gift shop. For a tasting room, the Kōloa Rum factory gives samples of a wide variety of flavored rums and some of the award-winning aged rums which are only available for purchase from the factory.

Our host led us through the rum selections from the aged rums, and spiced and flavored varieties.

a woman behind a counter

She learned where everyone was from and knew the stores where the rums were sold around the US (including Spec’s in Texas and Total Wine in Florida). The one rum that you can’t find anywhere outside of Kauai is, of course, the Cocoa Rum. After trying the chocolate made from the beans after being soaked in rum, we needed to taste the rum made with the chocolate extract. This isn’t a flavored rum, as you need to mix it because the cocoa settles at the bottom of the bottle.

It was so good that we purchased two bottles of the Chocolate flavored rum to bring home. It’s the only variety not exported outside of Hawaii.

a bottle of alcohol on a table

Being accustomed to tastings on the mainland, it’s difficult to find one that doesn’t charge. In one hour, we tried free samples of 6 different rums. Wheeeee! 😉

The Kōloa Rum Company tasting room is located on the Kilohana Plantation in Lihue. If you’re interested, there’s also a train that goes around the plantation and a luau on select evenings.

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John B April 8, 2022 - 2:20 pm

The Koloa Dark is one of my absolute favorite distilled spirits. it is one of the most perfect dark rums. A little smoother and more complex for sipping than Goslings or Meyer’s IMO. Its just perfect. Its been something like 6 years now since I have been able to travel or take a vacation and I still have my bottle of Koloa Dark I brought back from my beloved Moku o Keawe. In the last two weeks I even set face upon my island home, a double shot of Koloa Dark “neat” with a few ice cubes on the side as I watched the sun set over the South Kohala Coast at The Beach Bar at The Prince were some of the greatest and most peaceful moments of my life. Somehow I knew I would never see home again I think. That said, I’ve been nursing that bottle with a few other bottles of “really good stuff” on my bar. (Im sure I could get it shipped on line, but its not quite the same is it?). That said, I hope one day for my wishes to be honored and have some of my ashes placed in that very bottle and brought back to that beach. Eventually I suppose.

Island Miler April 8, 2022 - 6:55 pm

Next time you guys are on Oahu, do consider giving Ko Hana Rum a try. Their Agricole-style rum is quite different from what Koloa produces and is my preferred Hawaiian rum. They too make a cacao-infused rum called Kokoleka and partners with Manoa Chocolate to craft a bar made with the rum-infused beans. Both bars and bottles are available from Manoa Chocolate and Ko Hana’s websites, respectively.


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