Lahaina Grill’s Annabehl Sinclair-Delaney

There are very few people I have known in my life that I will call “extraordinary.” In fact, the count is perhaps at a handful and a half (at most) which after 46 years of life, wouldn’t you say that’s “extraordinary?”

What is extraordinary? describes extraordinary as exceptionalincharacter,amount,extent,degree,etc.;noteworthy; remarkable

Annabehl Sinclair-Delaney is one of the very few I count among those ranks. Balancing life, marriage, motherhood, volunteerism, artistry, and career, Annabehl is one of those rare gems you stumble upon quite sparingly in a lifetime. I am honored to say that my life has been blessed with her presence as a mentor, boss, colleague, and friend. I am excited to have the opportunity to feature her in Dining on Maui’s new Industry Talk Story Column.

1  How long have you been a mixologist?

About 15 years.

2 How did you get started?

Actually, I am a trained chef and have been working in kitchens since I was 16. The opportunity came up for me to move behind the bar and I discovered I liked it and in fact have not been back in the kitchen since.

3 Have you worked anywhere else?

I have been at Lahaina Grill for 19 years. Prior to that I worked in San Francisco, Australia and New Zealand

4 What’s your drink of choice?

A classic old fashioned or a simple gin and tonic.

5What is your philosophy about how you interact with your customers.

It is more of a hosting experience. I like to think that it’s my place and I’m just entertaining old friends.

6 What do you like to do in your spare time?

Taming my garden and seeing as many theatre shows as possible.

7 What is your favorite restaurant aside from Lahaina Grill?

Sale Pepe. Great authentic food and atmosphere.

8 What do you value most in people?

Honesty and solid work ethic.

9 Do you have a favorite quote?

“I drink and I know things” – Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones)

10 What is the strangest drink anyone has ever asked you to make?

I don’t really consider anything strange but when someone asks for a “sex on the beach”….i know I’m dealing with an amateur.

11 Has anyone ever asked for a mat shot?

Thankfully no. That is literally the most disgusting bar-related thing I have ever heard of. Just…….no.

12 Where do you get your inspiration for your cocktails

This is where my culinary background comes in. I love to experiment with syrups, bitters and shrubs. Whenever I see a new fruit or vegetable or some new product I always think of a way to incorporate them into a cocktail.

13 Tell us a little about pre-bartender Annabehl

My childhood goal was to be an archaeologist. During my college years I found cooking and switched paths. My takeaway was a surprisingly useful back pocket knowledge of ancient history, languages and politics. You’d be surprised at how often I have used this in discussions with customers.

14 A little about your theatrical career?

My high school had an amazing extra-curricular drama program, which was my introduction into theatre. My current passion is our little Non-profit Theatre Theatre Maui. Which provides great summer theater opportunities for kids on the westside. My favorite place is behind the scenes and we have a wonderfully supportive community on Maui.

15 Who is your hero?

Fictional – Wonder Woman. Actual – Any Badass woman who can get shit done.

16 What are you most proud of?

We have so many long term employees at LG, which translates into great service and making great relationships with our customers. We recently received top honors for service and our wine list in the state at the Hale Aina awards in Honolulu.

17 What do you like to see customers do at the bar

Interacting with each other and enjoying their experience together.

18 On the flip side, what would you like to see customers STOP doing?

Unless you’re blind, don’t ask me to describe the menu for you if you haven’t bothered to open it at all. Try reading first, then I will happily answer any question you have.

And don’t ever say “ What’s good here”? Argh.

19 If you had any ingredient and/or spirit on hand that you desired, what would you make?

I want to play with fire and smoke and lots of obscure liquors.

Annabehl is a spitfire, and even though I’ve now moved quite far away, I’ll always value what I have learned from her — from mixology to lessons in life.  She’s a pro!

Disclaimer: I started this post last year; however, life got in the way, we moved from Maui to California, and I finally got around to updating my site again and completed this post.  Cheers!