One of the highlights of the Tiki in Waikiki weekend event was a tour of the Kō Hana rum distillery in Waipahu. We took comfortable buses our about an hour out of Waikiki and were greeted by the friendly folks from Kō Hana.
The tour includes four components, with about ten minutes in each spot. Our group started with the distilling area with the pot and column stills, where we learned about how they take the wash and turn it into fine Hawaiian rum. Our next stop was the aging room where we saw that some of Kō Hana’s expressions are aged in a variety of barrels including a few made with native Hawaiian wood. There’s a lot more capacity in that aging room, where I hope we’ll get even longer aged expressions of Kō Hana rum in the future.
We also learned about the sugar cane and the dozens of varietals that Kō Hana is using. These varietals are on the grounds of the distillery for reference, but the farms are on the north end of O’ahu. At each stop the experts in each field were available for detailed questions about Kō Hana’s production process. A breezy tour for rum newbies and super cool for the rum nerds to dig into the details.
The last stop was the tasting room where we got to sample three Kō Hana expressions: the unaged Kea, the aged Koho, and the Kokoleka which is made with Kō Hana rum along with pure cacao and raw honey. This liqueur is bottled at 30% ABV and Mrs. Mai Tai was such a big fan that we walked home with a bottle. There’s also samples of Kō Hana’s fine bottled cocktails and some other branded items available for purchase.
Kō Hana is becoming one of my favorite rums thanks to the myriad excellent cocktails I’ve been having lately that are made with this fine spirit. I honestly don’t love their unique square bottles but they’re quite distinctive on the shelf and traveled well in our suitcase.
Big thanks to the team Kō Hana who were super informative and also provided us with a great deal of hospitality during our visit. Mahalo, team.