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:
The drink: Piña Hi (HK$160)
Toshokan means “library” in Japanese, and Bar Toshokan, the month-long-maybe-more pop-up from Sunday’s Spirits has opened shop inside Frank’s Library — Foxglove’s speakeasy-inside-a-speakeasy — just in time for another round of mamma-mia-here-we-go-again COVID regulations. Fret not, because they’ll be open through it all, just until 6pm. But that’s good news, because it means you can get your sanitised hands on Bar Toshokan’s Piña Hi, a mix of coconut fat-washed Sunday’s NAS whisky, Heiwa Yuzushu, sakura and clarified coconut milk — which is like the kind of piña colada that the fancy cat from The Cat Returns would drink, if Baron Humbert von Gikkingen drank piña coladas. He might. I don’t know him! New Year, same us. Gyms are closed anyway, so hold those resolutions for CNY and go get one, tiger. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
Bar Toshokan, Frank’s Library at Foxglove, G/F, 18 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2116 2449
The drink: Wonda Kiwami Black Coffee (HK$17)
I’m not, technically, doing Dry January, but I’m trying to Be Better. And as someone who likes to drink her calories, Being Better means no more bedside hot chocolates; no more 3:30pm walks for boxed VLT (miss you!). Being Better, now, means keeping a massive litre of water in the vicinity of my body at all times and drinking unsweetened teas, unsweetened coffees and unsweetened, well, everything. Enter: Asahi’s Wonda Kiwami Black Coffee.
I start every weekday morning with a visit to the 7-11 closest to my office and I’ll get this specific coffee because: one, it’s fifty cents cheaper than the one immediately beside it; and, two, for a time, it had a cute One Piece illustration on it. But back to the coffee. It’s just black coffee! I happen to be someone who enjoys the taste of coffee, so I have that going for me, and I’ll make a case for aluminium-canned coffees tasting much, much better than coffees housed in plastic bottles. It probably has something to do with the insulation keeping it colder for longer, but my scientific knowledge only extends to IB Environmental Science, Standard Level, in high school, so what would I know. Again, it’s just black coffee. In an aluminium can. Served cold. Easy. — Joey Wong, Editor
The drink: Sweet Temptation (HK$67 for small)
Ok, this is not something you’ll ever catch me drinking. It’s a stout. A beer! I’ve strongly emphasised my dislike for it. Side note: I’ll also admit this is not my best photo work either (albeit miles better than my Censu highball). But, I envisioned myself to have sipped other things this week instead and snapped this as a casual photo to my colleague Sandra Kwong, an international beer judge in her previous life, to show her that I am, in fact, having a beer! At Blue Supreme, too, a quaint little craft beer bar tucked within the Sheung Wan slopes. But I didn’t and here we are.
So expert approved (she replied with “Yumm”), and away I sipped. This one is number 9 on a list of many, listed with notes of chocolate, caramel and hazelnut. Now, I may know nothing about beers but I know enough that tasting notes are usually not what it says. To my surprise, Sweet Temptation, the stout (which Sandra explains is a beer fermented with extra malt), was delightfully rich with deep, earthy notes of cocoa that round out into a mild bitterness. It was light enough for my untrained palate to appreciate. Beer probably still won’t be my drink of choice, but I’m open to it! New year, new me or something like that. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Blue Supreme, G/F, 21 Tung Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 5988 3088
The drink: HAKKAISAN Sochu Highball (HK$22)
This was my first time trying a canned Japanese highball, and I loved it. I’d say it’s dangerous, too, because two of these bad boys and you’re waved off for the night. So, it could be the perfect drink to sip on if you’re on a budget but still trying to party. Don’t be afraid of the 12% alcohol, it doesn’t really taste like strong liquor, but rather a fruity aroma, with hints of lemon and yuzu. I enjoyed it with some nut mix snacks and cheese, which was a good combination, but the drink was quite tasty itself; could’ve done without the snacks. — Subin Hong, Editorial Intern