Ocean Vodka: Enjoy a Sip of Maui in Every Martini


Is there any better way to end a gorgeous day on Maui then to watch the sun slip below the sea and witness its mango-red blush spread across the sky? It’s doubtful, unless you also manage to catch twilight’s last wink in the sparkle of its infamous green flash.

Either way, one thing we know from living here is that sunsets as extraordinary as ours are often reason enough to have a luscious cocktail in hand. It’s only too bad we can’t bottle up the entire Maui experience to enjoy it everywhere we go. Or can we?

It’s a longing such as this that the Smith family, who locally own and operate Ocean Vodka, want their loyal followers to possess. Their mindset from the beginning was to capture, in the purest way possible, the very essence of Maui’s DNA in every bottle. This way, whenever and wherever people enjoy their Ocean Vodka martini, they will again experience the pleasures of our island.

“We want the ability to follow people home,” says Shay Smith, CEO and President. “And we want them to think about when they are coming back.”

So how has this surf-loving family been able to achieve such a lofty goal?

To begin with, they named their handcrafted beverage “Ocean” Vodka for a reason. And that’s because they make it from the deepest, most mineral-rich waters of the Pacific Ocean. At a depth of 3,000 feet, the sea contains life-essential trace minerals and elements like: potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc and so much more. As a matter of fact, Shay says theirs is the only vodka in the world made with deep-sea mineral water. So in effect, when you drink Ocean Vodka, you’re actually drinking DNA from an integral part of Maui’s environment.

Another way they’ve added a piece of Maui’s DNA into their vodka is in the sugar cane they use and in the land on which they grow it. Years of research for just the right cane stock lead them to the fallowed fields of the old Pioneer Mill on Maui’s Westside where it still exists. And what they found was an organic strain of 100-year-old “plus” sweet Maui cane that predates the GMO movement.

They in turn grow the cane in pesticide-free volcanic soil and harvest it by hand on their environmentally friendly, 80-acre parcel in Kula called the Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery. While not entirely cost effective, they are methods of conservation that Shay says puts them ahead of the curve in sustainability.

“We’re in the dirt, so why dig in pesticides?” asks Shay. “Keeping Maui green is important and that’s why we are focused on agriculture. It’s a consciousness and it’s just nicer to do it this way. It helps with the whole experience.”

Kristin Hetterman, Director of Communications, adds that by acting socially responsible we’ve also proven it’s possible to be 100% organic certified and support a product at an affordable price.

Lastly (and this hardly describes everything they actually do), Maui’s DNA is even in the way they run their facilities. Measuring an impressive 6,000 square-feet with a 60-foot, state-of-the-art distillation column, their entire operation -- from the distillery to the warehouse and bottling center – are completely solar powered by Maui’s eternal sun.

With all this, it should come as no surprise that Maui is truly in every bottle, especially when you consider that every drop of Ocean Vodka contains the essence of the Pacific Ocean, sweet Maui sugar cane, volcanic soil and an ample dose of Maui sunshine.

So drink up. Have an Ocean Vodka martini and think of Maui. Who knows, at your next enchanting sunset whether here or at home, you might even catch a glimpse of that elusive green flash. If not, you are certain to find it in the recipe that follows…

RECIPE: The Ocean Vodka “Green Flash”

2 oz. Ocean Vodka
1 oz. Fresh Lemonade
½ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 tsp. Muddled Lemongrass
1 tsp. Crushed Ginger

Muddle lemongrass and ginger in a shaker. Pour remaining ingredients into shaker over ice. Shake vigorously and pour into chilled martini glass.
Garnish with a sprig of basil.

To learn more about Ocean Vodka or to arrange a tour at The Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery, go online to www.OceanVodka.com. You can also call toll free at 1-866-77-OCEAN or locally at (808)-877-0009.

Written by Elaine Gallant, May 2013
West Maui Book Club