10.16Four Season’s Tequila Cocktail Recipe | Hawaii’s Resort Hualalai

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Courtesy The Gourmet Review

Leave it to the Four Season’s Resort Hualalai to come up with a twist on the traditional tequila cocktail.  If you are a tequila connoisseur, then you will love pairing David Ravandi’s 1 2 3 line of certified organic tequilas with cucumber, fresh juices and just a slice of jalapeno for that extra kick. This cocktail, named the “Paniolo” by Doug Shulman, one of Four Season’s creative bartenders, uses Dos (2) Reposado. Try it!



1.5 ounces (you can substitute silver tequila)

2 slices cucumber

1 jalapeno sliver

.5 oz lime juice

2 oz mango juice

.5 oz agave nectar


In a mixing glass, muddle cucumber and jalapeno with lime juice and agave nectar.

Add tequila and mango juice to glass with ice.

Shake and pour into a chili rimmed glass (1/2 of glass).

Garnish with sliced cucumber per photo and slice of jalapeño.


Enjoy some of Doug’s other popular cocktails recipes, such as his Mañana tequila cocktail or the Hualalai Collins cocktail.

– The Gourmet Review

10.09Four Seasons | Roasted Carrot Salad & Crispy Proscuitto Recipe

Four Season’s  Executive Sous Chef Nick Mastrascusa is always changing the BeachTree restaurant menu at Four Seasons’s Resort Hualalai on the Big Island of Kona, Hawaii. Count on fresh, local ingredients and creative ideas when it comes to salads. This Roasted Carrot Salad with Crispy Proscuitto and Gorgonzola is perfect if you love an autumn twist to your ordinary ho hum green salad. It’s especially good if you can find baby heirloom carrots at your store or favorite market.



6 pieces roasted carrots (preferably heirloom, baby carrots)

2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

2 ounces crispy proscuitto

2 ounces arugula

2 ounces frisee (if not available, try bibb lettuce)

.5 ounces aged balsamic

1 ounce extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Roasted Heirloom Carrots

5 heirloom carrots

4 ounces herb oil

1 ounce honey

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Crispy Prosciuitto

Layer proscuitto on a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Top with parchment paper and another sheet pan.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Roasted Carrots

Toss baby heirloom carrots in herb oil, salt, pepper and honey. DO NOT PEEL.

Roast in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 mites until slightly caramelized.

Cool and reserve.


Toss arugula, frissee and carrots with balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Plate and top with crumbled gorgonzola and crispy proscuitto.

Drizzle with more aged balsamic.


Chef Nick loves to feature seasonal ingredients in dishes on the menu. Chefs Angela, pastry Chef Linda and Food and Beverage Manager Sebastien Hinsch come together for tastings to make final selections for the menu. Guests are never disappointed.

06.12Mango Mai Tai Recipe | Four Seasons Hualalai

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Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

The Mango Mai Tai is my favorite mai tai drink, especially as the sun sets at the Beach Tree Bar at Four Seasons Hualalai. The Mango Mai Tai is  simple to make and slightly less lethal than a regular mai tai, but I dare you to stop after just one. I asked Frank, the bartender ,who introduced me to this magnificent creation,  about it’s origins. First, the recipe.



1.5 oz        (1 shot)           Cruzan Mango rum

1.5    oz     (1 shot)           pog juice* (you can substitute any commercial pot)

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai uses Pass-O-Guava, aka pog juice, but you can find pog sold in most grocery stores.


Combine ingredients and pour over ice. Garnish with pineapple.



The story behind the Mango Mai Tai is a humble one.  Hualalai’s assistant room’s division manager, Lanikai Lindsey, was in search of a new tropical cocktail amenity to welcome our tired guests to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai that had a little taste of “Aloha”.  Lanikai needed the drink to be both tasty and refreshing, but simple enough for the front desk to make.


I love this type of challenge. It gets my creative juices flowing (sorry about the pun). I recommend using a shot of Cruzan mango rum (1.5 oz.) and Pass-O-Guava juice aka POG juice.  POG is the juice every keiki in Hawaii grows up drinking. It’s as “Hawaiian” as it gets. The Cruzan mango rum is for the “kick”. I once served this cocktail at a banquet function at the resort, and it got rave reviews from all the guests. The POG juice comes pre-made by the gallon. We add Cruzan mango rum. Simple.  That’s why I gave Lanikai that recipe and then didn’t give the drink a second thought.

Shortly thereafter, guests started sending back the regular Mai Tai we make at Beach Tree.  They wanted the “Mango Mai  Tai” they got at check in. All the bartenders were confused. What “Mango Mai Tai?” You see, I never actually named the drink.  Lanikai must have come up with the name Mango Mai Tai. It took the bartenders awhile to figure out what was going on. What was going on was my humble drink was a hit!”

-Frank Weiser


Frank Weiser has been a bartender at the Beach Tree Bar, since the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai opened on the Big Island in 1996. He’s a great guy and makes everyone feel welcome, as guests gather for nightly sunset on the beach.

– The Gourmet Review

06.08Four Seasons Hawaii | Luxury Travel

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Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Hawaii conjures up images of sun, sand and surf – in other words, paradise. One of my favorite places in the world is the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island of Hawaii at historic Kaupulehu. Hualalai takes its name from the volcanic mountain that rises on the island and captures the essence of Hawaiian culture and tradition.

Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Four Seasons Hawaii. If that’s not the ultimate in luxury travel, I don’t know what is.Leave it to Four Seasons Resort Hualalai to greet guests as they arrive at the hotel with a warm “aloha,” a mango Mai Tai,  and abeautiful orchid lei for the ladies and a wooden beaded lei for the men. It doesn’t take long to exchange winter gear for bathing suits and clothing suitable for a climate that averages a balmy 80 degrees year round. The Big Island happens to be the sunniest, driest and warmest of the islands in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

It’s hard to decide my favorite activity. It really depends on the time of day. The spa is rated No.1 for all the Hawaiian Islands and deservedly so. Each morning an array of exercise classes start at 7 a.m. and continue throughout the day. My husband is in heaven. Decidedly, he is NOT an early riser, but he’s at spinning class every morning at 8 a.m. sharp and, depending on the schedule, will take pilates, sports pump, butts and guts class and so on.  He’s good for two to three hours. My max is two hours, followed by a little cardio. There’s something for everyone, from sunrise beach yoga, tennis and golf clinics, to learning the art of making flower leis or the hula. We always leave in better shape than we arrived!

Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Daytime finds us by one of the many pools. Will it be the adult pool with a private cabana, the black-bottomed lava pool, or the family pool? Any choice fits the bill.

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Dining is casual and views of the ocean are on display for all to see. Every restaurant is open with views of the ocean. The surf is lit up at night, which makes walks along the beach an absolute must. Food is fresh from 160 local farms. Herbs come  from the hotel’s herb garden. The salads are some of the best I have ever tasted. I will be sharing some simple to prepare, utterly delicious recipes.

Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Courtesy Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

Golf is spectacular on Jack Nicklaus’ signature golf course. The emerald fairways cut through black lava fields to create a unique golf experience.  Nothing quite like views of the ocean, sounds of the surf crashing, and those tricky black volcano rocks to give an added challenge to the course.

Hualalai is a slice of paradise you won’t want to miss!

– The Gourmet Review

05.29Mañana Tequila Cocktail Recipe| Four Season’s Style

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Courtesy The Gourmet Review

With summer coming up, why not try the Four Season’s “Mañana” (tomorrow) recipe? The raspberries give this tequila cocktail a refreshing spin. David Ravandi’s Blanco Tequila, from his 1 2 3  line of certified organic tequilas, is the perfect tequila to complete this cocktail.



1.5 ounces Uno Tequila (from 1 2 3 or Uno Dos Tres) Tequila
0.5 ounces Cointreau
5   raspberries
0.5 ounces lemon juice
0.5 ounces simple syrup


In a mixing glass, muddle lemon juice, simple syrup, and raspberries add tequila and cointreau

Shake and pour into old fashioned glass, garnish with raspberries.


This cocktail was created by one of my favorite bartenders at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Doug Shulman. You can also try the Hualalai Collins on this blog.

The Gourmet Review | The Four Seasons

Courtesy Four Seasons

Enjoy a specialty cocktail with Doug next time you visit The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.  Until then, you can prepare the Mañana at home!

– The Gourmet Review

05.18Villa d’Este Resort | Romance on Lake Como, Italy

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Courtesy Villa D'Este

Love a little romance and grandeur? Villa d’Este is simply breathtaking. This exquisite, five star Italian resort is located on the romantic shores of Lake Como, not too far from Milan. This is one destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Where else can you combine history, exquisite atmosphere and culinary excellence?

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Courtesy Villa D'Este

Many have called Villa d’Este on Lake Como  the most beautiful hotel in the world. The resort’s conversion dates back to 1873. Its palatial elegance was enjoyed by royalty, who enjoyed the villa as a summer residence many years ago.

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Courtesy Villa D'Este

Originally, Cernobbio was a tiny village populated by fishermen and woodcutters. Nuns were the first to arrive and took refuge from the civil war in a church that is today the park of Villa d’Este. In the l6th century, a Catholic cardinal built the main villa after acquiring the land from a monastic order, whose monastery still remains a focal point within the 25 acres of gardens.

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Courtesy Villa D'Este

More than five centuries of Italian art and architecture can be seen throughout the hotel and gardens. The l8th century Mosaic is one of the most photographed landmarks in Italy and can be seen as far back as Edith Wharton’s 1904 book, “Italian Villas and Their Gardens.”

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Courtesy Villa D'Este

It’s easy to close your eyes and transport yourself in time to a different era. Imagine Winston Churchill, Rita Hayworth, Yves Saint Laurent and Mikhail Gorbachev, taking the very same walk around the hotel and gardens as you. Today the guest list is a veritable “Who’s Who” in film and politics.

During the winter, the spectacular views of Lake Como and the snow capped mountains have not changed much over the centuries. The best time, of course, is summer. Be spontaneous and try this spectacular hotel. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed.

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Villa D'Este

Whether it’s the heated pool floating strategically over Lake Como, or the fabulous spa and tennis courts that grace the premises today, Villa d’Este leaves its guests wanting to return again and again.

– The Gourmet Review

04.24The Four Season’s Pastry Chef Linda | Inside the Kitchen

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Tell the truth. Don’t you think dessert is the best part of the meal? Chef Linda Rodriguez is pastry chef for Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. She is talented and passionate about each creation served at the hotel, from breads to pastries to desserts. The whimsical corn ice cream above was made with fresh pureed corn and topped with caramel corn. Not found on the menu, special occasions sometimes call for special creations. Corn ice cream is one of them!

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Courtesy Brad Packer

Any foodie worth their salt knows that dessert is an art form. Nowhere is the term “culinary arts” more appropriate than when  Chef Linda focuses her attention on the grand finale of a meal.

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Whether constructing elegant wedding cakes, making sugar sculptured desserts or simply adding the final drizzle of chocolate to the perfect towering chocolate masterpiece, Chef Linda knows the  importance of visual appeal, as well as good taste. She created this dessert for Valentines day, so guests could crack open the see through sugar ball to eat the goodies inside.  All this topped a yummy molten chocolate cake.

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The chocolate covered vanilla ice cream bon bons are one of my favorite desserts. Each bon bon is hand shaped and then quickly dipped into liquid chocolate. During the holidays, the Beach Tree restaurant serves as many as 5000 bon bons. It’s a visual head turner served over dry ice.

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Whether it’s a choice of chocolate or flavor of the day soufflé, a “Spring into Mango” selection with kaffir lime mango cake and fresh mint laced mango or the delicate pastry concoction above, there are selections to please everyone.

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Or, perhaps a little tirimisu with a chocolate curl and just a hint of chocolate sauce. Or maybe you want to try the “I Wanna Chocolate Wana” with Hawaiian chocolate, black sesame pastiness and macadamia nut cream. The selections change often and each one is delicious.

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Want to have your “fruit” for the meal? Why not try Chef Linda’s “Chocolate Gone Bananas,” with a warm banana and chocolate tart, laced with Hawaiian chili peppers and Hawaiian chocolate ice cream.

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Chef Linda, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America,  has over thirty years experience as a pastry chef. She can tackle any challenge.

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Whether it’s a grand desert or a decadent creation for VIP guest arrivals, Chef Linda makes me want to disregard all manner of counting calories and simply savor each bite. One can always exercise tomorrow!


The Four Seasons Hualalai | Four Seasons Resort Hualalai

The Gourmet Review

Chef Linda was kind enough to teach my “Blue Baker” some of her secret tricks for making elaborate, show stopping cakes. This was the perfect afternoon activity  for a young lady aspiring to be a baker herself!

Be sure to check out Chef Linda’s Lemon Rricotta Pancakes featured in Lucy Lean’s “Made in America – Our Best Chefs Reinvent Comfort Food” cookbook.

-The Gourmet Review

02.27Fresh Grapefruit Cocktail Recipe | Four Seasons

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The Gourmet Review

This freshly squeezed grapefruit cocktail with Absolut Ruby Red Vodka is refreshingly addictive, but lives or dies with the ingredients. Guaranteed you will get great raves for this party drink. The cocktail is named the “19th Hole” and is featured at the golf club bar at Four Seasons Hualala on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Bartenders won’t know this drink, so look up the recipe on The Gourmet Review and make sure the bartender uses fresh grapefruit juice, preferably Ruby Red grapefruit. Enjoy. This is SO good.



1.5 oz Absolut Ruby Red Vodka

1.5 oz freshly squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit juice (can substitute other freshly squeezed grapefruit)

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 oz Agave Nectar

Raw sugar for glass rim

Fresh mint leaf (optional)


Squeeze fresh grapefruit and remove any seeds.

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice.

Shake until mixture is cold.

Dip cocktail or martini glass in raw sugar and to cover rim. You can quickly dip the glass in the drink mixture first to make sure the sugar remains on the glass.

Pour mixture into glass.

Add fresh mint leaf for color.


This fabulous drink was created by Christian Hiro. Thanks for sharing!

– The Gourmet Review

02.13“Inside the Kitchen” | Four Seasons Hualalai | Farm To Table

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The Gourmet Review

The Four Season’s “Farm To Table” nine course tasting meal was over the top. What an evening! Instead of dining  oceanside at  the fabulous Pahu i’a restaurant, Executive Chef James “Jim” Babian surprised with a two person chef’s table “Inside the Kitchen.”

Chef Jim is serious about using local products. Check out the menu below. It was inspired by Chef’s visit to the farmer’s market earlier in the day and supplemented with a few calls to local vendors for delivery that afternoon. Over 160 local ingredients are utilized on the menus at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. The menu was extravagant. Check it out!

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Courtesy The Gourmet Review

Kumumoto Oyster Duo

Foie gras-teri & Kalamansi, shiso, olive oil, black salt

Henriot, Brut Rosé

The oysters are from the Natural Energy Lab. Chef wanted a stark contrast, so

the  first oyster was topped with a small piece of seared Foie Gras and teriyaki

ginger jus. The second was tart, with locally raised Kalamansi lime, fresh

micro shiso and a touch of black lava salt. 

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Tea Smoked Kona Shrimp

Uni cream

Domaine Barat Chablis 2009

 The shrimp were harvested that morning. Chef Jim and Shaun lighty smoked them in a

wok with tea leaves, Maui brown sugar and star anise, gave them a quick sear

and finished them with an ala minute uni sake cream emulsion. They also

fried the heads to a nice crispy texture and served them with a simple lemon wedge.

Fresh fried shrimp heads .   .   . “yummy.”   – Chef Jim

(Ahhhh, Chef, this is an acquired taste for most of us.)

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Spicy Ahi “Thai Style Crudo

Mizuna, Kamuela cucumber, radish, micro basil

Selbach-Oster Riesling 2009

The #1 Ahi that came in that day from the Honolulu auction block was lightly 

chilies and then layer over Waimea raised Mizuna, watermelon radish, Kamuela

cucumbers and basil from the hotel garden.

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Roasted Waimea Beets and Pineapple

Goat feta, pineapple balsamic reduction

Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay 2009   

Chef’s preference is to eat fruit separately or as dessert, rather than mixed into salads.

“I guess I’m a purist when it comes to flavor and parings  and find one usually

overpowers the other. In this case, I went on a limb and asked Chef Shaun what

he thought about paring roasted pineapple (it mellows the tartness) with local beets and

pulls them together with Puna goat cheese.  We tried it separately.

 It was OK, but combining it was a pleasant surprise and an example of flavors

that really complimented each other and created its

own unique flavor when eaten together.”  – Chef Jim

(Read the rest of this entry…)

01.16Pineapple Margarita Recipe | The Four Seasons

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Four Seasons Fresh Pineapple Margarita

Four Seasons Hualalai makes one wonder how to pick a favorite cocktail recipe at the resort. This fresh Pineapple Margarita cocktail is served poolside in Hawaii. That’s right, just swim up to the bar and watch all sorts of cocktail magic. Just discovered this variation of the traditional margarita at the Palm Grove pool. This will definitely be on my cocktail list when the weather warms up on the mainland.



1.5 oz Silver Tequila (I love using Uno Dos Tres Tequila)

.75 oz Cointreau or orange liqueur

2 tablespoons fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks

1 oz orange juice (freshly squeezed  preferred)

2 oz pineapple juice (freshly squeezed preferred)

1 ounce fresh lime juice

.25 – .5 ounces agave nectar or simple syrup

Fine Sugar for glass


Take the time to freshly squeeze all the fruits. It makes a big difference, according to Grant and Corey, who makes a mean margarita for pool guests.

Muddle fresh pineapple. Then add orange, pineapple and lime juice. Add the tequila, Cointreau and agave nectar (or simple syrup). Shake in a martini shaker with ice and pour into glass with fine sugar on rim. Cheers!


This recipe depends on using fresh pineapple. I just place pineapple chunks in the blender and added some of the freshly squeezed lime juice. Just remove the skin of the pineapple, slice lengthwise into quarters, remove the core and cut into smaller chunks.

It’s easier for me to make a big batch in advance when I entertain. Fresh mint is also a nice garnish.

– The Gourmet Review

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