In the shade of monkeypod trees...

Here in Hawaii, we've been dealing with record-setting rains and even flooding of downtown areas, thanks to an unusually-busy hurricane season. Beaches have closed due to sewers overflowing and running off into the ocean, and the usually-blue skies have been endlessly grey for weeks. Our family has managed to squeeze in a little beach time here and there, but mostly we've been trapped indoors or the kids have been playing in the rain in our front yard. Over the weekend, we saw a small reprieve from the wet weather, and although the skies were still a bit grey, we braved the insanely humid conditions to head over to one of our favorite restaurants on the island, Monkeypod Kitchen. The food at Monkeypod is good and of great quality (albeit a bit expensive), but our favorite part of the restaurant is the cocktail menu and the open-air, laid-back atmosphere of their patio. With live music every day and a gorgeous stone patio flanked by tropical flowers set in the shade of their namesake monkeypod trees, the restaurant is a wonderful reprieve from the day-to-day frustrations of island living. Brad and I sip a cocktail while listening to the trade winds mingle with the notes of the acoustic guitar, and the kids run and play in the grassy lawn surrounding the patio. A slice of the Hawaiian good life.


You put the lime in the coconut....

If you've ever heard the song, then you can't possibly read that title without singing the tune. Heck, I can't ever mix the drink without singing it.

On a trip to Maui last spring, I visited a cute wine bar and ordered a drink called the Lime and the Coconut. It was delicious, light, refreshing and not too sweet, perfect for a hot day. When I returned home, I couldn't wait to try to replicate it. Although the wine bar used Svedka Colada vodka, I wasn't about to make a special trip to the liquor store (have I mentioned that my cocktail experimenting generally takes place in PJs after the kids are in bed?), so I pulled out the Belvedere vodka and added a little Malibu rum from a bottle that someone had left at my house after a party and had been shoved in the corner of the liquor cabinet and forgotten. I squeezed in a little lime juice, poured in the coconut water, and added a touch of agave to balance the flavors, and ended up with the perfect summer drink. And since coconut water is lauded for being so healthy and hydrating, it's guilt free, right?? Repeat after me: hydration is important!

The Lime and the Coconut

1 1/2 oz. vodka (I love Belvedere, personally, but feel free to substitute another quality vodka)

1/2 oz. Malibu coconut rum

Juice of half a medium lime (about an ounce)

2 oz. pure coconut water (I like VitaCoco, but there are plenty of great options)

1/2 oz. agave syrup (you could also substitute simple syrup here, whatever you have on hand)

     Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 60 seconds. (I said daahctor, ain't there nothing I can take...I said, daaaaahctor, to relieve this bellyache...You put the lime in the coconut and drink them both up....) Strain into a chilled martini or margarita glass and serve with a lime wheel.

The Lime & the Coconut

The Lime & the Coconut