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.
John Choy Café
The drink: Cold Brew Coffee (HK$60)
The crushing reality of just about everything these days can take the pep out of anyone’s step, my own included. But I’m doing my best to not go gently into that existential dread spiral, and am trying to make the most of those pre-6pm hours to see our city for the interesting, vibrant place it can still be. If nothing else, getting those daily 10,000 is as good an excuse as any to get out of the house and check out a new part of town — like I did in To Kwa Wan this past weekend. The baristas at John Choy know their way around a coffee bean, rotating different regional styles throughout the year, and the takeaway cold brew was excellent — just the fuel my journey needed. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
John Choy Café, 21 Yuk Yat Street, To Kwa Wan, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2333 6422
The drink: Spicy Bloody MUGI Mary (HK$120)
She’s up to her old tricks. And by old tricks, I mean slinging Bloody Marys on a Saturday afternoon. What can I say — I’m a creature of habit.
The Bloody Mary at Kuromaru — a speakeasy-style cocktail-music lounge nestled in far-end of Maison Meiji in Wan Chai’s Green House; ask the hostess at the door if you’re lost — doesn’t come with all the pretty, shiny trinkets I love when it comes to Bloodies. You know: the skewer of snacks, the straw, the celery stalk you dip and chew in-between sips, the casual insouciance of drinking a Bloody Mary, the you-can’t-taste-it vodka. Rather, the bartending talents of Kuromaru class up the Bloody by exchanging vodka (or, if you’re bad, tequila) for Mugi Shochu, and it tastes… meatier. Richer? It doesn’t move the pendulum beyond what you’d expect a Bloody Mary to taste like, but it’s just a nudge towards umami. And spicy! Courtesy of chilli and pepper and the sansho-rimmed glass. Now, like I said, there are no snacks skewered in, but there’s an entire menu of other delicious cocktails to sample: the Espresso Orange Martini was excellent, too.
And for Animal Crossing fans, Kuromaru looks exactly like The Roost. You’re not going to see Brewster (Boo!), but you’ll see bartenders in three-piece suits, so, same-same. — Joey Wong, Editor
Kuromaru, 1/F, 7 Mallory Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 6181 9801
Fortnum & Mason
The drink: Elderflower, Strawberry and Rose Tea (HK$111)
Welcome back to another weekly entry of Best Sips: Home Edition. I’ve done the coffee. Done the easy, convenience store pick-me-up hojicha milk tea. This week, I’m dedicating my Best Sip to another pantry essential: tea. Simple, but always a good idea. And of course, I’ve gone with the blends from none other but reputed gourmet foods experts, Fortnum & Mason — they are, after all, born from the land of the perfect cuppa where milk goes in after the tea, as it should be. Rather than your usual Earl Greys and Lemon & Gingers, this one is a little different. A fitting, springtime-esque blend of elderflowers, strawberries and roses that steeps with a sweet, berry scent and sips with light floral notes. Just at the very top of your palette though, so it doesn’t ever overwhelm too much. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Fortnum & Mason, Shop 022, G/F, K11 Atelier, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3916 8181
The drink: Vanilla Milkshake (HK$68)
So I’m not sure why Burger Circus isn’t serving a strawberry milkshake at the moment, but it did lead me to pick up this vanilla iteration; a small blessing in disguise! I took one sip and almost immediately gulped the whole drink down, which wasn’t a surprising reaction once I found out that the shakes at Burger Circus are now powered by sister brand and gelato favourite, Messina (both are under Black Sheep Restaurants). It’s a good shake! I think it’s time for a trip to Messina. — Sakina Abidi, Editorial Assistant
Burger Circus, 22 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2878 7787