Summer is fast approaching; with it comes extra doses of vitamin D — at least when the sun’s out. But what happens when the clouds come in or rain comes down? Luckily, adulthood gives us plenty of options to drink our vitamins and so here we are, with the seven best fruit-forward and vegetable-based cocktails to quench your healthy thirst.
Cocktail #1 at The Sea by The Old Man
Fronted by the same bar heroes behind Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 winner — The Old Man, founders Agung Prabowo, James Tamang and Roman Ghaleopen have officially opened the doors to their spin-off concept The Sea in Sheung Wan. Similar to its sister venue, the bar and its cocktails continue to pay homage to celebrated literary figure Ernest Hemingway. Our pick for The Drinks List is Cocktail #1. It’s a favourite of Head Bartender Agung Prabowo and uses umami-enhancing seaweed gin as its base mixed with a sweet, sour and lightly carbonated lacto-fermented pineapple, topped with soda made from bones.
The Sea by The Old Man, 2 Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong; +852 2307 0030
Salad Imposter at Dragonfly
A twist on the classic caprese salad, which is usually made with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, the Salad imposter is the refreshing and nutritious cocktail solution to summer. Those who sample this veg-forward cocktail can expect pleasantly savoury flavours made possible by parmesan-infused Gin Mare, fresh plum tomatoes, basil, citrus and hints of sharp and sweet notes from peach vinaigrette. It is served with a seasoned mozzarella garnish to guarantee that you get your daily dose.
Dragonfly, Shop 10 – G1, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2777 2633
Pandan + Lychee Daiquiri at Armoury
Located in the former officer’s armoury and store at Tai Kwun, the Armoury is a bar that sits in the cool shade of a mango tree on the historic parade ground. It gets seriously busy, thanks to its semi-alfresco layout. But if you can brave the crowds to grab a seat in the open-air, then sit back and sip on their (Thai) take on a daiquiri, made with pandan and lychee. Using Chalong Bay rum from Phuket, the easy-to-drink cocktail is lightly sweetened with lychee and fragrant with the aroma of pandan leaves.
Armoury, G/F Armoury Building, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2703 9111
77 Wells at DarkSide
Named after the colloquial moniker for Kowloon, DarkSide is an equally dark but atmospheric bar that sits inside the new Rosewood Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. Here, 90% of the spirits are dark too, along with the rich dark chocolate it comes paired with. We opted for something more cooling, and thus our cocktail of choice was 77 Wells. The drink pays homage to the number of wells there were in the old walled city of Kowloon, and uses Mancino vermouth bianco and yuzu sake, tempered by a jasmine tea kombucha and peppered with cubeb.
DarkSide, Rosewood Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon; +852 3891 8732
Shiso G&T at Dai Bing
The classic gin and tonic is (in my opinion) the ideal drink for summertime sipping, and its thirst-quenching abilities are given a little vegetal lift with shiso at Hong Kong’s artisanal ice suite Dai Bing. Made with Spanish crafted London Dry Gin, Cortese pure tonic water and the herbaceous Japanese leaf, the Shiso G&T is poured over a single, crystal clear ice block that melts slowly for a longer lasting cocktail. That’ll be why their name means “big ice” in Cantonese then.
Dai Bing, 52 Bonham Strand West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong; +852 9838 4438
Green Canto Mary at The St. Regis Bar
As each St. Regis around the world offers its own custom Bloody Mary, the Hong Kong property has given its own a Cantonese twist. Using dried tangerine peel, soy sauce and a mix of Chinese five-spice, the Canto Mary is a well-seasoned cocktail with an added whisky punch that will likely wake up any tired soul. There are also three variations available — a red, yellow and green base — that use tomatoes from Côte d’Azur, the southeast corner of France. While the red Canto Mary is strong and aromatic, and the yellow is on the sweet side, the winner is green as it has the perfect amount of savoury notes and a crisp twang that goes so well with the live jazz band.
The St. Regis Bar, 2/F, The St. Regis Hong Kong, 1 Harbour Drive, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; +852 2138 6888
If you’re one for quirky concoctions then VEA Lounge might be your best bet, what with resident mixologist Antonio Lai leading the charge for unconventional cocktails. This season is no different, and Lai looks to Hong Kong’s casual cafes (cha chaan teng) for his inspiration and ingredients. One such creation is Kumquat, a vibrant cocktail of London dry gin, oleo-saccharum (the rich flavoured sugar-oil mixture), citric acid solution and the bright citrus tang of fresh kumquats and lemon. The cocktail also comes with a kumquat lolly to mix it up with another texture as your drink.
VEA Lounge, 29/F, 198 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2711 8639