Honolulu Cocktail

Classic Honolulu Cocktail - Gin Martini Recipe

S&C Design Studios

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)

The Honolulu cocktail was one of the signature cocktails in 1930s Hollywood. Created at the famous Brown Derby, it remains one of the best tropical gin cocktails created.

The menagerie of fruits in the drink likely led to the name and create a taste and feel of the islands. This is a little unique among the classic drinks where gin is most often found in drier and simpler recipes. However, if you notice the timeline, the Honolulu cocktail also came about during or around Prohibition. Those were the days of questionable gin, so a drink with this many flavors could easily disguise a low-quality spirit.

No matter it's original intent, this is a nicely designed drink. It makes a great old-fashioned choice for those who prefer the fruitier drinks on modern martini menus.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. If you like, rim a cocktail glass with superfine sugar, using a piece of citrus fruit to wet the rim.

  3. Pour the ingredients into a chilled cocktail shaker filled with ice.

  4. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

  5. Serve and enjoy!


  • Superfine sugar is preferred over standard granulated white sugar for rimming a glass because the grains are smaller. It's really easy to make it yourself using a food processor.
  • Since this cocktail relies heavily on fruits, fresh juice is highly recommended. The citrus fruits are easy and one orange and lemon will yield more than enough juice for a few cocktails.
  • For the pineapple, you can use a juicer or simply muddle some chunks of fruit in your cocktail shaker. Strain the juice from the fruit and mix it into the drink.
  • Even if the Honolulu was originally made with bathtub gin, there's no need to be cheap today! There are many fascinating gins on the market that would work perfectly in this cocktail. Explore your options as each will lend a new flavor profile to the drink.

Recipe Variations

The Honolulu cocktail is a perfect option for a big-batch cocktail. All the fruits against the gin background make a nice pitcher drink that could serve a small party poolside or on the patio. Simply increase each of the ingredients for the number of servings you need, mix them up in a pitcher, and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve. It could even be poured over ice on a hot day to create an even more refreshing drink.

How Strong Is a Honolulu Cocktail?

With all the fruits, the Honolulu cocktail is a pleasantly mild drink and nowhere near as strong as the average gin martini. On average, it will shake up to just 10 percent ABV (20 proof), which is less than most wines.