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:
Twenty Fifth Hour
The drink: Honeybee (HK$138)
Twenty Fifth Hour has the spiciest Mulled Wine (‘Mull It Over’; HK$128) I’ve chugged this season, which is A Very Good Thing. Twenty Fifth Hour, also, has a drink named Butterscotch (HK$128) that tastes exactly like what you’d dream it’d taste like — a piping-hot, melted pool of spiked butterscotch. But I’m not here to talk about their seasonal drinks, as good as they are. And you should try them before they disappear into the ether (or whenever Head Mixologist Kenzo Lee decides it’s no longer cold enough to warrant warm, slow sippers.) I’m here, rather, to talk about the Honeybee, a brand-new twist on the classic Bee’s Knees and part of Twenty Fifth Hour’s winter cocktail programme.
Because there’s no way I wouldn’t like Honeybee. I love honey; prefer it over sugar or any other type of sugar substitute, in fact. It’s served in a coupe glass, my glassware of choice. It, also, comes with my favourite treat: a hint of spice. It’s also named Honeybee. Adorable.
Now, Honeybee is a sunshine-yellow serve that begins, first, as recommended, with a bite. You’ll be instructed to chew through the edible flower tweezer-placed by the rim; the stem (not the petals!) holds a slight wasabi-like zing. Hold that on your tastebuds. Then, proceed with sips that temper spice with a light, fragrant sweetness, rendered with 14-day house-aged beeswax, gin, elderflower, peach, lemon and egg white. It’s a gossamer wisp of a drink — you can easily have at least two, consecutively. Make it three. For the bees! — Joey Wong, Editor
Twenty Fifth Hour, 13/F, Luk Yu Building, 24-26 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 5546 8540
The St. Regis Bar
The drink: The Canto Mary (HK$148)
As legend has it, Fernand Petiot perfected his vodka-and-tomato juice cocktail while behind the bar at The St. Regis New York, blessing us with the perfect Saturday or Sunday — or any day — eye-opener, the Bloody Mary. St. Regis has continued to celebrate that monumental achievement for day-drinkers throughout its hotels around the world, with each individual venue serving up their own local twist on the recipe. Naturally, St. Regis Hong Kong offers the Canto Mary, which combines not only local ingredients like chang pei and Kowloon soy sauce (my favourite Mary add), but also a spoon of Scotch whisky that nods to Hong Kong’s history as a global city — and adds just a hint of that delicious, peaty funk to the mix. With apologies to Petiot, I might even prefer it to the OG. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
The drink: Invitations to the Baku (HK$130)
Between naps and watching bad TV during this lovely Week of Nothing at 2021’s year-end, I did manage to put on actual clothes and make it out to civilisation for my friend Kelly’s birthday (hi, happy birthday again!), which included a tasty agenda of the city’s best mentaiko udon at Roji (Best Noodles according to our MMMs Food Awards!) and a cocktail from Apothecary. Which if you didn’t know, is the latest Wyndham Street opening, shaking up tea-inspired cocktails that are beautifully illustrated in what the bar calls The Herbalist’s Notebook.
This particular one is Invitations to the Baku, one part of the dozen signatures here. In Japanese mythology, the Baku is believed to devour nightmares, so naturally, this one is light, dreamy — Good Things Only. It’s also sake based, with a Yuzu Marmalade-infused Four Fox Sake stirred in with Jasmine cordial, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, tart maraschino and a final dusting of wasabi powder, crusted on the edge of the glass for a mild kick of bitterness as you sip the sweet tipple. Or down it, enjoyably, for a delicious other. Essence of Courage ahead of a new year, perhaps? — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Apothecary, 3A, Carfield Commercial Building, 75-77 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2983 8233
Carlyle & Co.
The drink: Skinny Margarita (Off-menu; HK$120)
Give me something with minimal carbs and super low sugar I say (not obnoxiously!) to the man behind the bar. Of course, my efforts were completely negated when we then proceeded to continue having multiple cocktails and even — gasp — a whole bottle of red wine. But, I digress. I started the night with good intentions! And, expecting something uninspiring, what I, in fact, received was this delightfully refreshing, lip-puckeringly sour, totally appetising, no-sugar version of a Margarita. If you’re reading between the lines: Basically, all tequila with some freshly squeezed lime juice. “開胃” as we say in Cantonese. A skinny drink for a skinny wannabe. — Sandra Kwong, Features Editor
Carlyle & Co., Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 3891 8910