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 drink: Mad Society (HK$130)
Unbeknownst to me, the initial in Hunter S. Thompson’s name denotes “Stockton”. Huh. Also unbeknownst to me until much too recently, Stockton, the very handsome, almost clandestine watering hole perched atop Wyndham, is named for one Hunter Stockton Thompson himself. My sincere apologies if you already knew that — I didn’t! But now you have a fun factoid to share with your date on that long, dark walk to the speakeasy’s bulb-lit entrance. You’re welcome.
“Creativity of Sins”, Stockton’s brand new drinks menu, pays homage to the life and times of Hunter S. Thompson; an exhaustive 12-drink itinerary with pitstops along the lauded journalist’s very, very colourful life. I’ve made nice with Thompson in childhood with Prince Jellyfish (HK$130), a chamomile-infused tipple; threw back a Gonzo (HK$135) in honour of his preferred breakfast — consisting of an incredible four Bloody Marys — but my favourite was Mad Society, a Cachaça cocktail in tribute to Thompson’s time spent in Brazil. It starts off sweet with passionfruit and ends with a spicy, umami kick. Be forewarned, though; very coriander-y at the finish. Which might not be your pick of poison, but was sure as hell mine. — Joey Wong, Editor
Stockton, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2565 5268
The drink: iJooz orange juice (HK$20)
I don’t know what it is about a glass of freshly squeezed glass of orange juice, but it’s always gonna beat the stuff you get from the store. So you can imagine my delight to stumble across this little machine, iJooz, while making the rounds under the October weather out in Sai Kung. Apparently they’re all over the place, popping up at ferry piers and bus stations and other high-traffic spots throughout Hong Kong since they entered the city in 2019, but I’ll settle for better late than never. For HK$20 — you can even use your Octopus card! — you get an instant cup of fresh, delicious O.J., squeezed and sealed by a robot before your very eyes. Normally I’d put something here about tequila soda, but not this week. Just orange juice. Wholesome, delicious orange juice. How refreshing! — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
iJooz, various locations around Hong Kong
The drink: Cheer & Drink (HK$128)
You probably wouldn’t expect a full cocktail menu during a visit to a steakhouse. I wouldn’t. There are just too many things going on at the table. Am I supposed to take a sip before or after getting messy with a perfectly medium rare steak? Was the drink supposed to bring out the flavours or cleanse my palette? I forget! I don’t know!
But following a recent trip to California Tower’s Porterhouse, this opinion may have been forever changed. Their beverage director, Jonny, puts together a beautiful cocktail menu that compels you not to overlook. Each drink is a very thoughtful sip that swings in perfect tandem with the venue’s hearty, heavy plates –– no matter what order you enjoy it. One in particular is this Cheer & Drink. It’s served in the same decorative cup that appeared in an earlier appetiser with butter-soft uni nestled within. In its second show of the evening, it now houses a sweet, smooth concoction of pineapple and cranberry juice with a tasty mix of ginger, coconut and melon liqueur. It’s ever so light; you almost don’t remember you’ve just wolfed down a whole Porterhouse steak five minutes ago. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Porterhouse, 7/F, California Tower, 30-36 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2522 6366
Crew at BaseHall
The drink: Earl Grey G&T (HK$85)
Crew, most famous for their signature home-blended coffees, has upped the ante in their new location in BaseHall, serving up a selection of ‘Crewtails’ — heady alcoholic concoctions infused with a hit of caffeine. There’s something so romantic; so simple; so wholesome about drinking tea with, well, something a little extra. I have always been a sucker for everything Earl Grey, so this was a no-brainer. Light, aromatic and oh-so-easy to down, you’ll almost be able to convince yourself this is just, simply, an iced tea. — Sandra Kwong, Features Editor