The Safina – A Message From Hawaii


I came across this story this weekend, and although it’s clearly not of international or even national significance, it seemed like a fun inspiration for a drink. Basically a Californian man came across a real-life message in a bottle when he was looking for his lost shoe on the beach. The message was an invitation to a child’s birthday party in Hawaii four years ago. (Her name is Safina, hence the name of the drink.) Logistically, I don’t quite get how this is an effective way to invite people to a party but hey, it’s the thought that counts. The couple that found it are now trying to get in touch with the family, to see if they’ll still honor the invitation…

Making this drink was a bit of a trial-and-error process. I had high expectations of what I could do at the beginning, and most of those expectations fell a little flat. Have you ever tried making coconut milk from scratch? Easy, I said! Nope. It’s not. I got to the point of slowly carving away the meat from the coconut husk with a spoon when I gave up and went to the supermarket for a carton of the milk (not pictured, to preserve my dignity). Secondly, my preparation method for the ingredients was not altogether effective — I’m adjusting the directions here to be what I think is the best method, though I haven’t tried it so I could be totally wrong.

Still, I actually very much liked the finished product, and with the changes listed below it should hopefully be even better! It’s light, flavorful, and has elements of both Hawaii (coconut, Kahlua) and the long ocean voyage that the bottle took (salt, rum).


The Safina

  • 1.5 oz golden rum (dark might actually be better, but I was out…)
  • 1/2 oz Kahlua
  • 1/2 oz salted caramel sauce (Got this from Trader Joe’s, delicious for all occasions)
  • 6 oz unsweetened coconut milk (You can make this from scratch yourself! Or, just buy it. Pro tip: Just buy it.)
  • 3-4 shakes chocolate bitters (Scrappy’s is awesome, a gift from the Partner in Crime)

As I said, I made a bunch of missteps when constructing this. Here’s what I think should be the best method. Warm the caramel sauce in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Stir together all ingredients. (I had poured them in together, but not mixed. I also saved the bitters for a garnish, but they should be put in at the beginning.) Once they are well enough mixed, pour them over crushed ice. This is the important step — I tried shaking the drink with crushed ice, but as soon as the caramel touched the ice, it hardened up and wouldn’t mix with anything else. So the drink definitely needs to be combined before getting cold. Top with a drizzle of caramel and a sprinkling of sea salt (like a Starbucks latté!).


Tasting Notes:

BN: I actually liked this a lot more than I thought I was going to. I wish it was a little sweeter, and the different flavors a little stronger. They melded well enough together, but it was definitely primarily coconut and Kahlua tastes; I wanted to taste more of the caramel, salt, and bitters. I think the preparation changes I made above should fix this problem and, overall, it was a nice, easy, tropical drink.

PiC: Ditto.


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