“Hualani’s is known for having the best Old Fashioned on the island. Why not take it to the next level? Let’s enhance it with our very own signature Bourbon.” Timbers Kaua‘i’s Food and Beverage Manager, Cory Dotario, is proud to present Nagao or Never – a signature Bourbon created especially for Hualani’s, our award-winning restaurant.

Famed Napa winemaker Dave Phinney is the founder of Orin Swift Cellars and creator of The Prisoner Wine Company. In 2016, Dave started his own state-of-the-art distillery, Savage & Cooke, located on historic Mare Island in California. It is here that he applies all that he has learned over the years in winemaking and where he notably finishes his spirits in wine barrels for additional aging to add flavor, texture, and character. Savage & Cooke offers a variety of core Whiskeys: Bourbon, American, and Rye—in addition to limited-release spirits, bottled cocktails, and unique collaboration spirits.

In a special collaboration with Savage & Cooke distillery, Cory brought Nagao or Never to fruition. This unique Bourbon blend was crafted to represent the renowned 450-acre resort of Hōkūala and the enclave that is Timbers Kauaʻi Ocean Club & Residences.

The Blend

Savage & Cook utilize a different approach to distilling, finishing spirits in wine barrels collected over years of winemaking. Nagao or Never‘s unique, signature blend is aged 4 years in carefully selected barrels, made up of  80% Zinfandel, 15% Grenache, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The resulting smooth taste and classic spice finish was a homerun by Cory and the Savage & Cook team on the first blend!

Behind the Name

A contest to name the signature blend was held amongst the Timbers Kaua‘i ʻOhana. Nagao or Never was presented by Alex Amorin, Executive Chef for Hualani’s. The name pays homage to Mr. David Nagao, without whom many things would not be possible. For those of us who know David well, this tribute is richly deserved — David has served this property tirelessly for thirty-three years, since before the inception of Hōkūala and Timbers Kaua‘i. With each pour of Nagao or Never, we say cheers and mahalo to David for his manaʻo and kōkua!

The Iconic Recipe

While the best Old Fashioned on Kaua‘i can be found at the Hualani’s bar, Bartender Matt provided the highly sought-after recipe for the Handcrafted Barrel Aged Old Fashioned. While he did not divulge all of his mixology magic, as it is best enjoyed with an ocean view from Hualani’s, the recipe below will set you in good stead for crafting this delicious cocktail at home.

  • Muddle fresh orange peel and Luxardo cherries. These delicious deep purple and burgundy candied cherries soaked in Luxardo marasca cherry syrup are the best!
  • Build the cocktail by adding the desired amount of Nagao or Never Bourbon, Demerara Syrup, Angostura Aromatic, and Orange Bitters.
  • Stir, then garnish with orange peel and Luxardo cherries.
  • Traditionally served with ice in an old-fashioned glass (also known as a rocks glass).