It looks like Okinawan bitters will soon be another bottle that bartenders can add to their arsenal. Okinawa's second-oldest awamori distillery, Mizuho Shuzo, has announced the launch of "Craft Bitters Citrus" on February 14.
Okinawa Times reports that it uses Okinawan lemongrass as well as local-favorite citrus such as the shequasar. It also gets some bitterness from cinchona bark, which is also used to make the quinine that goes into your tonic (and cure malaria!). Priced at 1500 yen, it will be sold locally and also online.
Mizuho Shuzo apparently spent about a year and a half coming up with the formula. Last year they also released Craft Gin Mizuho, so they are certainly branching out from just awamori.
At last year's Gin Live Tokyo I sampled Japan's first bitters. As Japan wakes up to the fact that the rest of the world can't wait to bring more Japanese flavors into their lives, I fully expect more Japanese bitters to hit the market soon.
Whiskey Richard is the founder of nomunication.jp, and has been saying he has lived in Japan for ten years for the past four years. He enjoys drinking basically anything except straight-up Campari.