‘Tis the season for warming mugfuls of something merry, something boozy – why not both? – and something that delightfully encapsulates all the Dickensian trappings of Christmas.
TOM, JERRY AND YOU
If the Tom and Jerry in your mind’s eye are shaped in the image of a forever- looping cat-and-mouse chase scene, this is specifically not that. What it is, however, is effort. Is, as the Difford’s Guide calls it, faff. Is separating eggs and whipping egg whites and beating egg yolks and folding and whisking and frothing. All in all, this relative of the as-festive eggnog is most likely something you’d rather enjoy with arms firmly folded, which you can certainly accomplish at DarkSide with its heady concoction of Matusalem Gran Reserva 15-year-old rum, Rémy Martin VSOP and said egg batter presented ladled, as per tradition, from a punchbowl.
DarkSide, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
SOME LIKE IT HOT
Were you to profile Christmas as a single, catch-all aroma, it would almost certainly be that of red wine and an entire cornucopia of spices – cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and grated nutmeg afloat and deliciously, dangerously fragrant – steadily simmering. Making this Yuletide blueprint its very own, Chilli Fagara, never too far from its fiery ma la thesis, turns up the heat with a tongue-tingling kick of Sichuan pepper, infused right alongside the festive trimmings you’d otherwise expect. Can’t take the spice? Wash down the capsicum with Santa’s favourite nightcap: a tall glass of milk.
Chilli Fagara, 7 Old Bailey Street, Central
IN SICKNESS, IN HEALTH
The symptoms of a common cold can reasonably be cured with bed rest, plenty of fluids and, to the chagrin of all currently suffering through a faucet of a rubbed-raw nose, time. But the more fun way of curing a common cold – as folklore and, apparently, William Faulkner would have it – comes administered as a generous pour of hot toddy. Bianco & Rosso’s version dials down the ABV by switching out the steamy drink’s conventional whisky for the wine-based aperitif lillet, but keeps it saccharine with brewed honey, orange liqueur and a steeped sprinkling of allspice.
Bianco & Rosso, 29 Gough Street, Central
NO COFFEE, NO PROBLEM
Anything Irish-prefixed is almost contractually bound to be a good time. Irish exits, absolutely. Irish stouts, legendary. And Irish coffees? The most fun a cup of joe, laden with Irish whiskey and heavy cream, can muster up to be. Tell Camellia’s holiday riff, Not Irish Coffee But Tea, is as instructional as it’s specifically informative; its sentence of a name an eye-roll of a joke that must’ve been met with peals of laughter from one Gagan Gurung at its inception. Again: it’s not coffee, it’s Hōjicha tea. Happy holidays, coffee avoidants!
Tell Camellia, LG/F, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central
CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL
Sure, there isn’t anything particularly festive about Twenty Fifth Hour’s double-boiled soup; it’s the speakeasy’s version of a midnight special, served like clockwork at witching hour every Friday and Saturday evening. But the holidays are about love and nothing says “I love you” quite as clearly, quite as tenderly as an overfilled bowl of chicken soup – home-made, just like mum’s – cradled between both hands and sipped then slurped, eyes closed, with a feeling akin to reverence. Unlike mum’s, though, mixologist Kenzo Lee spikes each ladled pour with a sneaky splash of brandy because “the sweet bitterness pairs best with the soup’s savoury notes”.
Twenty Fifth Hour, 13/F, Luk Yu Building, 24-26 Stanley Street, Central