Hāmākua Coast Premium was founded by a pair of Hawaiʻi bartenders inspired to make better cocktails by using local ingredients.
Brandon Ventura and Kalei Jury have been friends for 15 years and have been bartending at resorts on the Kohala Coast for almost as long. That’s a lot of Mai Tais under their belts. After years of serving vacationers drinks made with artificial syrups made as far away as Florida and Kuala Lumpur, they thought they could do better. Kalei explains that the concept is simple, “we have some of the best raw ingredients here in Hawaiʻi, why don’t we use them in making drinks”.
It started when training with a corporate mixologist who sparked an idea in Brandon by claiming “you can turn any nut into orgeat”. Orgeat is a syrup traditionally made from almonds. It’s the flavor that makes a Mai Tai, a Mai Tai. Brandon's thoughts drifted to his family’s macadamia nut farm on the Hāmākua Coast and that night he went home to work on the first batch of Macadamia Nut Orgeat. He returned the next day with this local orgeat and after some taste testing, the mixologist and other staff knew he had something good.
Brandon and Kalei expanded upon the Orgeat idea to develop an Ube Syrup, Pure Cane Sugar Syrup, and Big Island Lilikoi Syrup. All of the syrups are handcrafted in Hilo, Hawaiʻi and are now featured at bars and restaurants across Hawaiʻi. Their goal is to continue to grow and bring the flavors of Hawaiʻi to any occasion with syrups to enhance cocktails, mocktails, and culinary creations.
Hāmākua is the region of Hawaiʻi Island located between Hilo and Waipiʻō Valley, which in Hawaiian means “breath of God”. Situated on the northeastern coast of the island, lush fields and clear streams meet the Pacific at stunning sea cliffs. Hāmākua is one of the most fertile areas for farming in all of Hawaiʻi, having traditionally been the center of the islands' sugar cane industry and now known for macadamia nuts, mushrooms, and other crops.
We make all of our syrups at the certified kitchen of Ugly Cookies, in Hilo. Thank you so much to our friend Greg Chaves of Ugly Cookies for providing the space for these syrups to come to life. Click here to learn more about Ugly Cookies.