Sugarcane – The World’s Largest Crop + The Sweetest Cocktail Recipes

Cultivated in over 90 countries around the world, an estimated 2 billion tons of sugarcane is harvested each year. The world’s largest producers are Brazil, India, China, Pakistan, Thailand, and Mexico. Sugarcane production represents almost 80% of the worldwide sugar production each year.
Sugarcane has a fascinating history as a plant that went from a wild species of Asian perennial grasses to the world’s largest cultivated crop. There are 36 varieties of sugarcane that are originally native to the tropical regions of Asia. Once used in past civilizations for daily living, medicinal properties, and spiritual offerings to gods. Sugarcane is now pressed into fresh juice, dried into crystals for the sugar that we all commonly use, and used for Agricole.
We recently toured two companies that specialize in Agricole products, Kō Hana Distillers, and Hawai‘i Sea Spirits. Kō Hana Distillers is producing Agricole Rum, by hand-harvested organic sugarcane grown on their farm, pressing into juice in the field as they cut the stalks and then distilled. Hawai‘i Sea Spirits have an 80-acre organic farm with 30 varieties of sugarcane that are used to craft their sustainable vodka line.

Kō Hana Distillers

Kō Hana Agricole Rum is crafted from farm to bottle, which is unique as most of the world’s rum is produced from molasses; a byproduct of processed sugar. Kō Hana’s sugarcane rums have unique characteristics as they are rested in oak barrels to develop further and reveal the essence of the cane.
Kō Hana has four rums in its product line, and each one has it’s own unique flavor. Kea is the heart and soul of their line with flavors of banana, fresh cream, butterscotch, and subtle earthiness. Kokoleka is blended with raw honey and pure cacao for a smooth sweet taste. Koho has evolved flavors from resting in oak barrels that have brought out caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, and honey notes. The last rum is Koa, which is definitely a connoisseur’s choice, as it is only bottled at full cask strength. This rum has a sweetness to it with notes of earthy tobacco, oak, vanilla, coffee, and tropical spices.
KōHana Bright & Sunny
2 oz KōHana KEA or KOHO Agricole Rum
Ginger Beer
Add KōHana Rum to crushed ice
Top with ginger beer and a few dashes of bitters

Hawai‘i Sea Spirits

OCEAN Vodka is a family run business that is devoted to a sustainable approach using raw materials found only in Hawaii. The sugarcane is organically farmed on their 80-acre farm, and the varieties are selected for each batch are based on the signature flavor profiles Master Distiller Bill Scott’s has crafted.
OCEAN Vodka is the only vodka to use deep ocean mineral water to create their vodka. The water used originates from a glacier melting in Greenland and coming down to the Hawaiian islands where Scott’s team draws the water from 3,000 feet; creating a unique taste and clean finish.

Pineapple Express

In a pint glass, muddle pineapple and basil. Add ice, OCEAN Organic Vodka, lemon, and honey. Shake vigorously. Strain contents over fresh ice into glass. Finish with ginger beer. Easy stir, and garnish with pineapple spear. Okolemaluna!
Ginger Beer
¾ oz Honey
¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
2 oz Ocean Organic Vodka
A handful of fresh Basil
Maui Gold Pineapple
Writers Credit: Nicole Hall

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