To uncap a bottle of Lynn Calvo’s Lé Hukilau Vodka is to be transported to French Polynesia. Whiffs of ginger and lemongrass fill the air, almost making it possible to envision sparkling blue water and smell warm salt air.
“I want you to feel like you’re in the islands,” Calvo said of her line of all-natural spirit infusions.
The Montauk native and creator of The End’s Lynn’s Hula Hut began bottling the bar’s three most popular infusions in 2019, launching the liquor brand Hula Hut Spirits. There’s the Thai and French Polynesian inspired Lé Hukilau Vodka; Lé Tahitian Vodka, which is infused with Tahitian vanilla bean and pineapple; and Hula Juice Rum, a spiced coconut rum fans of the Hut will know from the bar’s popular cocktail Hula Juice — which includes the rum, pineapple, a drizzle of Gosling’s Dark Rum and a squeeze of lime.
“It’s the ultimate summer drink,” Calvo said.
Inspired by the well-traveled Calvo’s love of tropical places and combining her passions for cocktails and entertaining, the Hut deserves a spot on your summer drinking bucket list. The bar in the Montauk Marine Basin is chic without being pretentious, sophisticated without being stuffy. The type of place you want to grab a drink and catch up with a friend, take a significant other or even your visiting parents. Calvo started Lynn’s Hula Hut more than six years ago, originally as a long bed Chevy pickup, which popped up doing events around the Hamptons before moving to its permanent location.
It quickly became a hit among locals, summer residents and tourists alike, but it wasn’t until Calvo’s attorney started talking to her about taking her business to the next level that she considered launching a spirits line.
“I was terrified,” she said. “Not only did I know nothing about bottling spirits, but I’m a woman in a male-dominated industry. But I love a challenge so I went for it.”
Calvo spent roughly two years traveling around the country, researching both different distilleries and the spirits industry before launching the line, starting with the three infusions.
“I think I’ve redefined the tiki cocktail image into a fresh modern cocktail without all the sugar,” Calvo said.
Both the vodkas are extremely smooth and clean and while most people think of a spiced coconut rum as sweet, it isn’t overly sweet thanks to the herb infusions. You could even sip it on the rocks.
These days you can find Hula Hut Spirits in more than 70 bars, restaurants and liquor stores from Montauk to Manhattan. If it’s not in your store, Calvo advises fans to ask for it, saying lots of time the store can order it for you. Word of mouth is a big part of the brand’s growth thus far, as is Calvo’s determination to grow strategically and organically, not pushing into more than she thinks they’re ready for.
“I’m a big believer in getting traction and putting down deep roots, not growing too fast, but the brand is taking off and I have so many different recipes I want to share,” Calvo said.