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Best Sips: 5 drinks we loved this week

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.

These were the best drinks we sipped on and savoured this week:

Ruggers 28

The drink: Hot Brandy Toddy (HK$70)

Yiu Wa Street is my favourite block in Hong Kong — it’s where I learned how to play the five, ten, fifteen, twenty (etc.) game, and that other one where you lie about the amount of dice you have in your cup. Either way, it always ends in a lot of shots, usually taken from those teeny-tiny glasses. We all win. A self-described “beer powerhaus”, Ruggers is an unassuming little tap spot — there are actually two on the same street — where you can walk in and grab a drink after a taxing bout of Christmas shopping, like I did this week. I love a warm drink when booze is in the mix, and their Hot Brandy Toddy was a little sweeter than the rum alternative, which made it feel, you know, a little more festive. The smiley lemon was a bonus. A treat! — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief

Ruggers 28, 28 Yiu Wa Street, Bowrington, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2152 2117

POKKA SAPPORO

The drink: Corn Soup (HK$11 at 7-11; HK$260 for 30 cans on HKTV Mall here)

Speaking on behalf of most of Hong Kong: I miss Japan. I miss the cold; I miss the onigiri at Lawson; I miss the soft egg salad sandwiches and walking through those covered streets with shops on either side and placing cash on tiny, tiny trays at the cashier. Dodging crowds in Don Don Donki just doesn’t feel the same, no matter the merchandise.

I’ve spent many winters in Hokkaido not skiing, and therefore had the time to explore the myriad of vending machines available; there are so many. And this POKKA SAPPORO Corn Soup was always the choice I’d opt for on biting-cold days when hot drinks sound good, but hot chocolates feel too decadent and hot teas? I don’t drink tea. A soup in a can — soup made portable — is a thing of genius. And this corn soup is dense. It’s thick. It’s sweet. It has chunks of corn floating within that you’ll catch mid-mouthful like a fun, delicious surprise. Here in Hong Kong, these little slices of Japan-in-a-can sit warm in those hot “refrigerators” in 7-11 and Circle-K, typically by the door with cans of coffee and Vitasoy. Now sip. And dream of snowier days. — Joey Wong, Editor

Censu

The drink: White Sour Highball (HK$108)

I had full intentions of writing a Chirstmassy drink, I swear. But as circumstances (me being a boring drinker) will have it, I did not sip a single drop of anything holiday-related this week. I did, however, gulp down an entire glass of Censu’s White Sour Highball and loved it — here is a very apt photo (in my defence, I was probably excited about whatever just landed at our table). Probably more than any Christmas beverage, because now I’ve done you one better and featured a drink you can enjoy for the rest of 2022, instead of the two-week holiday period. With this one, it was a mention of “Yogurton” that initially tempted, with full hopes that it would be something tart and yoghurt-y. Almost. Qdamon Yogurton is actually just a sake from Fukuoka with a seemingly delicious name, but when mixed with Mitsuya Cider, it becomes an actual treat and tastes just like the unfortunately named Calpis but spiked with alcohol, which isn’t what everyone always said Calpis should be in the first place? This one is it — the drink with the funny name, all grown up. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor

Censu, 28-30 Gough Street, CentralHong Kong, +852 2997 7009

The Globe

The drink: Mulled Cider (HK$70)

Yes, fancy trees are up around the city. Yes, Christmas lights are stacked on buildings. Yes, our waistlines are collectively expanding. Yes to all of that, but what truly heralds the festive season for me is when I pop into my favourite pub and — YES! — mulled cider is on the menu. If you’ve been following my previous weeks’ Best Sips, you’ll know I’m an absolute sucker for festive drinks, and no one does a better Mulled Cider than the team at The Globe. Think fragrant Christmas spices with a sweet kick. And then throw a bit of bourbon in, too. They even have — what like to call — a powered-up version: Add an extra HK$30 for a shot of Graham’s Ruby Port. Truly glorious. — Sandra Kwong, Features Editor

The Globe, Garley Building, 45-53A Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2543 1941 

ROOM 309

The drink: Crystal Old Fashioned (HK$138)

Hidden away in a hotel in Central is ROOM 309, the bar that you need exclusive access to by receiving a key card. The speakeasy vibe of the bar with dimmed lights and high chairs reminds you of a Victorian-era interior. Famous for its creatively re-distilled cocktails, ROOM 309 boasts a wide menu variety, so treat yourself and try all the delicious drinks they offer. Personally, my favourite was the Crystal Old Fashioned. The re-distilled peanut butter bourbon is something I’ve never tasted before, but a very pleasant surprise. The cocktail is served with a piece of cherry to add a kick of sweetness to your night. Although I worried the peanut butter aroma would be too strong, it is balanced with tastes of fruit that linger on your lips. If it wasn’t for their expansive menu, I definitely would have gotten a second glass, or even more for the night! — Subin Hong, Editorial Intern

ROOM 309, 3/F, The Pottinger Hong Kong, 74 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong

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