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Best Sips: 4 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 and savoured on this week:

Smoke & Barrel

The drink: Bloody Mary

If you’re muttering “Another Bloody Mary?!” under your breath right now, I’m sorry. Well, not that sorry. I like what I like! And I like Bloody Marys. Smoke & Barrel’s version is not officially on the menu, but it’s there — they make it. And what a perfect BM it was. The drink itself arrives blanketed with a dusting of what looks like pepper that then makes itself known as very, very fragrant herbs. Don’t ask me what herbs, I don’t know. But they’re herbs! Then, you start your sips and it’s all tomato-y, a little spicy; the archetypal Bloody Mary if there ever was one. Lastly, if you’re still reading, a skewer of snacks: two olives and a folded-over piece of cucumber, precariously balanced across the lip of the glass. Dunk it in like an Oreo and let it soak before you chug, chug, chug. — Joey Wong, Editor

Smoke & Barrel, 1/F-2/F, Wyndham Mansion, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, +852 2866 2120

Saicho

The drink: Hojicha (HK$195 for 750ml)

Here’s a thought: Fizzy drinks just taste better. It doesn’t matter if it’s something as generic as water or seasonal like fizzy Ribena and Lemon Tea (amazing stuff, by the way), it’s luxurious. A sip you’d savour on special days. Still beverages? Save that for a weekday.

I have another to add to the list of fizzy greats: Saicho’s Sparkling Tea. The Hojicha, to be exact. It tastes just like a classic Kyoto roasted green tea — deep and very earthy — but then brightens up with a delicate effervescence that sparkles on the palate. Each of Saicho’s sparkling blends are made with authentic brews and the Hojicha blend happens to be sourced from Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture, which roasts second flush Sencha green tea. A single sip is mildly sweet with grape juice and notes of nori, roasted hazelnut and dry tannins round out the delectable palate. And I have to add — it wouldn’t be my entry if I didn’t — that this would make for the perfect chilled beverage whilst on a seaside vacation. I can already imagine it. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor

Shop Saicho’s selection here.

Smoke & Barrel

The drink: BBQ Spice & Hibiscus Margarita (HK$98)

Smoke & Barrel — the one without the “s”, for those keeping score at home — is a great place to go for any occasion that calls for strong drinks, but this occasion happened to be my birthday, so the stakes were even higher. I’ve already sang my praises for the cider glazed baby back ribs, a rack of which I promptly took down, and the best thing to go with a plate full of saucy southern BBQ is a spicy drink to match. Don’t forget to order a pair of Picklebacks (HK$78) — the perfect bookends to a proper S&B meal. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief

Smoke & Barrel, 1/F-2/F, Wyndham Mansion, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, +852 2866 2120

The Globe 

bset-sips-19-november-globe-ale

The drink: Behemoth Brewing Company’s All Day Breakfast – Blueberry Maple Sour Ale ($50/half a pint) 

It’s no secret I love a good drink; my Instagram handle speaks for itself. My go-to whenever I’m in The Globe tend to vary by the season: I love a golden ale or NEIPA when it’s warm, an amber ale or roasty porter when it gets cooler. However, regardless of season, the style I can never stay away from are sours. I love the tart, acidic, yeasty gloriousness that are sours. Their names are always so cute, and the flavours so enticing. To make matters for a semi-alcoholic worse, The Globe hands down has the best selections on their rotating taps, so I can’t stay away — shoutout to Pat! 

Behemoth’s seasonals are always a delight to try, but this Blueberry Maple Sour really took the cake. Fresh in after a long walk from home (we were trying to be healthy), this brew was on the top of this week’s list, and really, the only thing I wanted as a good thirst quencher. The colour is gorgeous, sure, but you’re immediately hit with the unmistakable scent of maple syrup. It’s so strong! After a sip though, the sour berries definitely won out on the palate. The marriage of both ingredients work — which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering, well, pancakes. Honestly, what a delight of a brew. The keg may already be finished, now, but if it ever comes on again, don’t hesitate to give it a go. — Sandra Kwong, Features Editor

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

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