Kai Lemongrass Vodka : My Crave Substitute

You don’t have to be pregnant to crave.  And I can assure you I’m not pregnant just because I have a mean food crave for lemongrass.  For me, it’s like catnip to a feline.  I love the smell and taste.  At one point, I used to go to my favorite vietnamese restaurant, Viet Cafe, once a week to get my Shrimp Lemongrass fix.  Viet Cafe is long gone and I still have not found a restaurant that made the Shrimp Lemongrass like they did. Hence, my craving subsided.  Then Hot Pot Heaven comes along with a killer Thai Lemongrass Broth and right now I’m salivating about it.  Is it poor table manners to openly just drink the broth?  Well, thank goodness for Kai Lemongrass Vodka I don’t have to live in broth shame.

Kai Lemongrass Vodka is a recent addition to the popular Kai Lychee Vodka.  Kai is an ultra premium vodka distilled from rare yellow rice blossom grown in Vietnam.  Kai Lemongrass is very similar to a citrus vodka BUT it has a distinctive dry finish.  The aroma is very subtle of fresh lemon.  On the palate, the flavor starts with sweet citrus and lingers after swallowing but then there’s a dryness.  Sometimes adding a touch of heat fills the void.  We added a dash of chili pepper water to one ounce of vodka.  What a difference a dash makes.  It’s  like drinking the Thai broth chilled with alcohol.  Turned off? Don’t be because it is very savory and delicious.

In our SWAM newsletter, we normally include a cocktail recipe.  In the August newsletter, we created our version of a plantation iced tea. Someone revealed that the country clubs use lemongrass in their plantation iced tea.  Using the internet, we looked up cocktail recipes for a lemongrass plantation iced tea and nothing came up.  We decided to create on ourselves.   The lemongrass tea cocktail is refreshing but the subtle dryness doesn’t quite quench the thirst.   It can be a little dangerous because we seemed to refilling the glass more than often.  ~Tipsy~ Enjoy creating your own cocktails with the Kai Lemongrass Vodka!

Chili Pepper Water Recipe by Sam Choy

2 cups filtered water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
6 medium Hawaiian (or locally available) chili peppers

Sterilize a 16-ounce bottle in a hot water bath for 3 minutes, and allow to cool a little.
Bring 2 cups of filtered water to a boil. Place salt, vinegar, garlic, and chilies in the bottle.
Pour the 2 cups of water into the bottle and stir.
Let stand for about 3 to 4 days before using.


Saigon Plantation Cocktail

1 3/4 oz. Kai Lemongrass Vodka
1 3/4 oz. Pineapple Juice
3 1/2 oz. Sweetened Iced Tea

Add all the ingredients to ice. Shake vigorously and pour all including ice into a tall glass.



Category : Reviews &Spirits

Dessert by the Shot: Pinnacle Cake and Cupcake Frosting Vodka

Cake + Frosting + alcohol= a Johnny Cupcake party?  May be after 5 shots, you may think so, but actually it’s the new flavors in the vodka world.   With the cupcake boom, it would be only natural that it’s popularity overflow into the liquor world.  Our appetite for desserts are now available for us who crave a liquid diet.  Cake Vodka by Pinnacle is now available among all of their other edible  flavors like Cotton Candy and Whipped.   Cupcake Vodka is now available with Frosting, Chiffon, and Devil’s Food.

Pinnacle Cake vodka smells and tastes exactly like yellow cake.  Caution, it is sweet.  Simply, it can easily be shaken and taken as a shot.  We first mixed it with Dekuyper Buttershots… whoa, way too sweet.  It may need a little sour to balance out the sweetness, perhaps a squeeze of lemon.

Cupcake Frosting vodka faintly smells and tastes like white frosting.  It’s more vodka than flavor, but a more mixable vodka to accommodate a sweeter addition like peach schnapps.

Not only vodka brands are developing the more unusual flavors.  Syrups like Torani are always introducing new flavors.  We’ve experimented with Gingerbread and Peanut Butter.   The possibilities of cocktail creations are endless! Regardless of all the new sweet flavors coming out,  I’m still anxiously waiting for the bacon vodka to arrive in Hawaii.

Suggestions on what cocktails to create…

One example of the Pinnacle Cake Vodka recipes from the Pinnacle website

Birthday Cake Shot

1oz. Pinnacle Cake Vodka
1 tsp Dry Vanilla Cake Mix
1/2 oz. Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 oz. Half and Half
Cream Vanilla

Add all the ingredients to ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a shot glass, top with Cream Vanilla and colored sprinkles. Happy Birthday!

Pinnacle Cake Recipes

Cupcake Frosting Recipe




Category : Spirits

SWAM 5th Anniversary Cigar

We have just received the shipment of the “SWAM 5th Anniversary Cigar”.  These cigars are a “limited edition” made by Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars and we only have 200 sticks available.   The cigar measures 6.25 inches by a 54 ring gauge with a Nicaraguan filler and binder finished in a Café Rosado Oscuro wrapper.  It has a touch more ligero in the blend making it a fuller bodied smoke.  These wonderful sticks have nuances of chocolate, leather and spice. Tatuaje Cigars are now the most sought after cigars in the U.S. and we thank Pete for getting these rare sticks to us.  Get them now as once we are sold out, we will never get these back again!

SWAM 5th Anniversary Cigar by Tatuaje

6.25 x 54

Filler: Nicaraguan

Binder: Nicaraguan

Wrapper: Nicaraguan (Café Rosado Oscuro)


Category : Cigars &Reviews

Alec Bradley American Classic Blend

The NEW Alec Bradley “American Classic Blend”

This is our first foray into the world of cigar Blogs! Being that this is new for us we will be reviewing a new cigar! To give you a little background on the cigar, Alec Bradley – Alec and Bradley is actually the name of Alan Ruben’s two sons. Alan Ruben started out during the 1990s cigar boom with the love of tobacco. 15 years later his company has grown to become one of the premiere cigar producers in the world. Alec Bradley also produces some other great cigars under the AB name such as the Vice, Maxx, Prensado, SCR (Select Cabinet Reserve), Tempus and the Family Blend – named after the founders Alan Ruben (President), Ralph Montero (Vice President), and George Sosa (National Sales Director). On May 20th, we hosted “The Armed Forces Day Smoker” at O’toole’s Irish Pub in conjunction with our friend Danny Bonilla of Prudential Life Insurance. Life insurance sponsoring a smoker? Well we will save that for another blog. It was $20 per person limited to the first 30 people and it sold out in a week. We tasted all-American Bourbons from Jim Beam, Knob Creek and Basil Hayden and featured the American Classic Blend Cigar. Patrons of the smoker were ask to donate some sticks to our military boys overseas by way of BOTL (Brothers of the Leaf). The care package was sent out and we hope it finds its way.

Now on to the review by Mark Miyahira…

Category : Cigars &Reviews

Bulleit Rye

We were fortunate to squeeze in a visit from Master of Whisky, Tom Turner, and taste the Bulleit Rye last week.  By the way, rye whiskies are making a nice comeback into the market, hooray!  Back in 2004, Tom Bulleit started developing the Bulleit Rye. With requests from the trade, it became a priority to move the project into production.  The Bulleit Rye is 95% rye and 5% malted barley and aged between 4 and 7 years.  Turner explained that the 5% malted barley is used to enzymatically breakdown the unmalted rye seed.  Thus producing a touch of sweetness to the spicy rye. Delicious!! 

On a side note, Turner pointed out that whiskies in the 1980’s declined in consumption.  Distilleries shutdown and production was reduced.  Like many trends, they fall out of fashion and then years later there’s a revival.  Whiskies, beers (aka craft beer), gins, and cigars are making a fashionable comeback with new packaging and higher price tags.  Certain distilleries that are considered the main component in popular blended whiskies are playing catch up in their single malts. Many 10 year whiskies are being held back to become a 12 year just to keep up with the supply.  Yes, whiskey does need time to age so for the vodka folk, keep your comments to yourself, thank you.  Not only has the demand drove prices up for an aged product but what about the raw materials??  Grain and fuel prices have only gone up due to the wrath of mother nature and the nature of politics.  With rollercoaster economic trends, how long will this ride last?  Hopefully for my sake, longer than my lease…

Back to the Bulleit Rye, currently we are sold out.  In Hawaii, the 750 ml will arrive in late June.

Category : Spirits

Hijos de Villa Tequilas and Mocambo Anejo Rum

I try not to ruffle any feathers but some may question my ‘obsession’ with bottle shapes especially in the shape of firearms.  I personally don’t own a registered firearm or a paintball gun because some might agree that it might not be a good idea if I did.  Unfortunately, I have not tried the Just Arrived tequila from Hijos de Villa nor the Mocambo Anejo rum prior to posting like other ‘experienced’ bloggers would.  My apologies for my hastiness, but pictures are worth more than my opinion.

Not only do Hijos de Villa make tequila in ‘cool’ bottles but they’re the first distillery in Mexico to have a pear tequila liqueur with a pear in the bottle like the european ‘poire williams’ brandy.

Category : Spirits