Frankly, Hong Kong may have never seen such a spirit-scape and cocktail choice as now. It holds eight positions in the 2017 Asia’s Best 50 Bars list. And with specialist whisky, rum and gin establishments rubbing shoulders with those with a broader remit, seasonal cocktails are refreshed fairly often.
If the last place sounds surprising, it’s a collaboration with lauded local cocktail mix maestro Antonio Lai. And if coffee sounds a little robust, the man who’s caused more than a stir at VEA bar and Quinary and others brings lightness. In Coconut Brew, fresh cold-brew coffee meets coconut water, coconut syrup, mint and pineapple. Rum Raisin includes vanilla ice cream with an espresso shot, rum, milk and cinnamon. TCA Old Fashioned has Bourbon whiskey, and a lighter coffee derivative: cascara (from the coffee cherry that houses the bean) syrup and orange peel.
At The Envoy – also under Lai’s remit – is a list of hot-season cocktails called The Jungle Book. The Picnic Spritz is all about cool notes – featuring cucumber redistilled gin, rosehip and hibiscus cordial and Fever Tree soda water. For something packing more kick, try the smooth sweet-yet-spicy Stranger Fruit: coriander redistilled gin passion fruit purée, syrup, egg white, aromatic Angostura bitters and seven spice powder.
Over at The Pontiac, which just celebrated its second anniversary, and has a new senior barman installed, Nickle Morris a vivacious veteran of the NYC and LA bar scenes. His Little Houdini – rye whiskey, mezculero, grapefruit, cassis, honey, mint and lemon grass – is fruity and sweet upfront, but the alcohol measures hinted at in its name soon make their presence known. A sense of strength is more immediately obvious with Seis Brujas, thanks to its chilli liqueur, markeza passion fruit syrup, curry and aromatic bitters.
Just a few imposing top cocktail recommendations for now then, to take the edge off these sultry evenings.