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Review: Hawaii Bitters

Coinciding with the kickoff of the first Hawaii Cocktail Week, was the debut of the much anticipated Hawaii Bitters

Posted February 21, 2013 by Ed Morita

Coinciding with the kickoff of the first Hawaii Cocktail Week was the debut of the much-anticipated Hawaii Bitters.

Shortly after the first Cocktail Week party at CoXist Studio, I was able to get my hands on the first three flavors produced by Hawaii Bitters – Kona coffee & mac nut, lilikoi and Manoa chocolate & ginger.

The nature of bitters makes is a little difficult to review, given that it’s not a primary component of a cocktail, but rather a flavoring ingredient. But, thanks to Hawaii Cocktail Week, there are a plethora of mixologists available to lend their expertise.

As a constant in my little experiment, I brought a flask of whiskey with me. This way, the type or quality of the liquor was consistent for all the mixologists when they tasted the bitters. Here’s what they thought.

Hawaii Bitters tasting (1 of 7)

Hawaii Bitters tasting

Joey Gottesman was the first to get the opportunity to serve up some Hawaii Bitters cocktails at the kickoff party at CoXsist Studio.

He had a trio of cocktails that night, each chosen to best highlight the bitters. His favorite from that night was a Mai Tai with the Kona coffee & mac nut bitters.

I agreed with him that the Mai Tai was the best of the three. The slight saltiness from the mac nut in the bitters brought out the fruit flavors of the cocktail, while the Kona coffee aspect added a pleasant aroma.

Photo by Ed Morita




  1. Posted March 8, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Mmm Mai Tai with kona coffee bitters makes me want to go back to Hawaii as soon as I can. I order kona coffee by mail but it’s not as good as having the ocean breeze on your face while you take that first sip. For those that are curious where to get kona here’s where I tend to go:

About Ed Morita

Ed Morita spent more than a decade working as a pastry chef at some of the country's premiere resorts and restaurants, including the Halekulani Hotel, The Greenbrier Resort & Spa in West Virginia, Bay Harbor Yacht Club in Michigan and Longhi’s Restaurant in Honolulu. After a near-career-ending injury forced him out of the kitchen, he embarked on a new career as a food writer, photographer and blogger for Metromix Honolulu and Nonstop Honolulu (, where he now writes the Baker's Hours blog. He's also entered the realm of politics, serving as the photography captain for the Abercrombie for Governor campaign in 2010, then becoming Gov. Abercrombie's official photographer until 2012 when he became the Social Media Director for the Mazie Hirono for U.S. Senate campaign. He's excited and honored to be the official blogger for the 2012 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. You can follow Ed's adventures online at

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