Best Sips is a look back on the most incredible drinks — alcoholic or otherwise — we had in the past week. Those which renewed our love for established venues; caught our attention at a new opening, or freshly impressed upon us the creativity and skill of Hong Kong’s talented bartenders and mixologists alike. From tipples at charming dive bars to award-winning apéritifs at five-star establishments, these are the best drinks to try in Hong Kong; the drinks we’d recommend you make a special trip for.
The best drinks we sipped on and savoured this week:
Honky Tonks Tavern
The drink: 2 Towns Pacific Pineapple (HK$55)
It’s a double billing week for Honky Tonks here, but I’m sure they don’t mind. I’m typically not much of a canned and brewed drinks guy (or anything that isn’t a tequila soda), but in the June heat of Hong Kong, anything goes. And on a recent sweltering evening, that anything happened to be the Pacific Pineapple cider from Oregon’s 2 Towns Ciderhouse, the result of what happens when golden pineapples from Costa Rica meet fresh-pressed apples from America’s Pacific Northwest. In a word, perfection. And if you have it alongside this week’s Best Bite Hyperoni pizza from the very same bar, you can have a pineapple and pizza combo that no one is allowed to get mad at. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
Honky Tonks Tavern, Man Hing Ln, Central, Hong Kong
The drink: Skinny Mary (HK$130)
If you’re not yet acquainted with The Poet, there’s a very, very good chance — I’ll put money on this, actually — you’ve walked past said bar, none the wiser. Because, like all speakeasy concepts, there’s a little mechanism to entering The Poet (flick the light switch to the right) and, like all speakeasy concepts, power lies within the harried whispers and the not-knowing. But here’s why you need to make a trip to The Poet: the bar’s cocktail menu is inspired. Take their Skinny Mary, for example, because, of course, I must.
Nori-infused gin, not vodka, carries the base spirit of this riff off the classic Bloody. A little more prim than your dive bar order, The Poet’s Skinny Mary is thinner and lighter, but all the more for highlighting exactly how fresh and tomato-ey it is. Then, the rest is familiar: fresh lemon juice, celery syrup (house-made), Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper complete the composition. Then, all at once, unfamiliar: the garnish-of-choice — a flash-fried squid charred before your very eyes — forces umami on your palate, and makes the drink a very, very special experience. — Joey Wong, Editor
The Poet, G/F, 13 Staunton Street, Central, Hong Kong
The drink: Jasmine (HK$195/ 750ml)
I’ve written before about my love for Saicho’s sparkling tea and here I am, back again, with another Best Sip featuring Saicho. It only feels right to continue this weekly column’s unofficial documentation of my journey through the brand’s selection of sparkling teas. So this time, I’m logging Jasmine. A familiar green tea brew — coincidentally my pick during yum cha sessions — Saicho’s leaves are sourced from China’s Fuding in the Fujian province, harvested by hand in spring and laid to dry under blooming Jasmine flowers for a fragrant aroma. On the palate, the pale golden hue of Jasmine is light and floral; the natural fragrance of the flower delightfully noticeable. Accompanied by a faint sparkle that’s akin to the delicate flavours of the tea itself, it’s refreshing, sweet and gently herbaceous. Saicho recommends painting with spicy Asian salads, but it really is a match to anything. I’m sipping on this day and night. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Get it here.