Top 10 Hong Kong summer cocktails
As Hong Kong’s humidity rises, so does the list of cocktails available on every rooftop bar or dingy drinking den. Here are some new summer offerings which will gently carry Hong Kongers through to the cooler months.
Hong Kong and cocktails have had a long and varied relationship, and residents can take their pick from sipping candy-inspired infusions at bartender of the year, Antonio Lai’s Quinary or a Typhoon Warning while holing up in Ham & Sherry.
We bring to you 10 of the coolest additions to the Hong Kong bar scene which are contenders to the Top 10 summer cocktail throne…
10. Typhoon Warning – Ham & Sherry
Crafted by Ryan Nightingale of stellar Wan Chai Spanish bar, Ham & Sherry and contender in Diageo’s World Class 2015 competition, “Typhoon Warning” is a tumultuous mix of pineapple, passion fruit, Chinese Jasmine Green tea and rum.
Inspired by the Hurricane Cocktail from New Orleans, it tips its cap to Hong Kong’s typhoon season with an upturned umbrella and a cautionary weather pamphlet – this is one cocktail that comes with its own T10 warning.
9. Hong Kong Rooftop – Ozone at the Ritz-Carlton
“Rooftop” is a bit of an understatement for the world’s highest bar on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton and its signature cocktail. However, Hong Kong Rooftop offers a dizzying list of ingredients including salted caramel, strawberry, lemon juice, vodka and kumquat which is a symbol of abundance and good fortune in Chinese traditions.
Devised by Teresa Moon, the Hong Kong Rooftop “has a high cultural significance and reflects the essence of Hong Kong.”
8. Ace of Clubs – Cocotte
Nestled in Hong Kong’s quaint NoHo area, Cocotte is a new-ish un-stuffy Parisian-inspired outfit run by brothers, Brice, Petrous and Jonathan Moldovan.
Guests wishing to learn the origins of the name, Cocotte, can choose from any of the following: a casserole dish, baby talk, a term of endearment, or a 19th century lady of the night (depending on the drinkers’ moods, perhaps).
One of its bestsellers, the Ace of Clubs incorporates oh so simply, cilantro-infused Olmeca Reposado Tequila with a twist of lemon and soda water.
7. Whisky Sour Brûlée – Gradini at The Pottinger
Pandering to Hong Kong’s obsession with the dark stuff, the Whisky Sour Brûlée uses Bourbon, smoked egg white, lime and caramelised sugar with a sprig of rosemary in a modern take on the classic dessert (which Hong Kong also has a hankering for).
Dreamed up for one of Hong Kong’s coolest boutique hotels, The Pottinger in its Italian bar Gradini, the Whisky Sour Brûlée combines “a medley of flavours from sweet to sour and bitter.”
6. The Venetian Martini – SEPA
Created for Hong Kong’s answer to an authentic Venetian restaurant, SEPA on Caine Road, the Venetian Martini combines Tanqueray, Noilly Prat, Strega and white Sambuca for a citrus explosion which will transport drinkers back to the land of gondolas, expensive ice cream and stripy tops.
The man behind the martini, mixologist Rogerio Igarashi Vaz, describes it as a “perfect pre-dinner aperitif with its mouth-watering tartness and crisp acidity.”
5. Yum Cha – Mod Bar at Tycoon Tann
Using quintessentially Chinese-inspired ingredients such as Chinese tea, lemongrass and Moutai, the Mod Bar’s creative bar manager Jimmy Chung describes the idea behind Yum Cha.
“Most Hong Kong people like drinking tea, and I have designed this cocktail with a fruit tea including mango, orange and passion fruit and especially mixed with cinnamon-infused gin which takes about 1-2 days to get the flavour just right. This is a cocktail that good for ‘cleansing’ and balancing the strong flavours of Chinese dishes.”
4. Whisky Lemonade – Yardbird
Using Yuzu liqueur instead of Cointreau, the Whisky Lemonade is one of Yardbird’s signature cocktails and a take on the famous Lynchburg Lemonade.
Elliot Faber, beverages director describes the creation as “unique and a major part of Japanese whisky and cocktail culture. It’s also tart, refreshing and easy drinking.”
3. Market Martini – Lily & Bloom
Inspired by the colourful wet markets of Hong Kong and its melting pot of cultures, Hong Kong’s trendy urban hangout Lily & Bloom has a range of classic summer fruit martinis to keep residents from parching.
Lily & Bloom takes inspiration from the “creative headiness of the early 1900’s” to develop a series of tipples overseen by beverage director, Chester Grucza.
2. Bikini Girl – Honi Honi
This saucy concoction is new to Honi Honi, a contemporary Tiki Cocktail Lounge in Central.
Incorporating Fiji white rum, lychee purée, cucumber, rosewater, cranberry juice and lychee syrup, Bikini Girl is “set to get everyone in the mood for a hot summer and Hong Kong’s beaches.”
1. Sound of Ciroc – Quinary
And finally, no self-respecting cocktail list in Hong Kong could exclude the grape-based winner from the 2015 Diageo World Class competition which was created by Antonio Lai from Quinary who will go on to represent the Hong Kong and Macau region in the South Africa final.
Sound of Ciroc uses a combination of Ciroc vodka, white grape juice, green grapes, grape “gummy candy”, Vermouth and Campari to “delight all five senses” and “elevates the art of the cocktail,” said Lai.