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:
The drink: Mugi Punch (HK$120)
I’ve waxed lyrical enough about Bloody Marys for you to be able to surmise how I like my drinks: Savoury. If not enthusiastically salt-soaked, at least with potential for a briny linger at the back of my throat with each forward sip. If you’re a fellow salt hound, make the Mugi Punch — Roji’s take on the milk-rum punch — your pick of poison for the evening. It’s a Matusalam rum-infused concoction that aims towards the brackish with, not salt, but Koikuchi Shoyu. A quick Google scavenge and the first-page appearance of a familiar red-capped Kikkoman bottle told me everything I needed to know about this new drink I love — and its dark soy sauce secrets.
And if you’re really gunning for a very salty high, chase the last sips of the drink with the sake broth from the Giant Clams (HK$198) dish. Do it like a pickleback and revel in the umami as it hits your tongue, double-time. Then, rehydrate with some of the excellent Flavoured Highballs on the menu; the White Grape (HK$85) was my favourite. — Joey Wong, Editor
Roji, 20A D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 9884 0704
The drink: Houjicha Vanilla Ice-cream Seltzer (HK$34/250ml)
On a rare night off from imbibing (don’t worry, boozy tricks below), I meandered off to the non-alcoholic drinks roster and there it was. Mindful Sparks’ Houjicha Vanilla Ice-cream Seltzer. A serve that sounds more like dessert than drink that gave even me — a person who typically swerves from seltzer; I like my water very still and very cold — a moment of pause. There were no regrets with this order. Mindful Sparks’ Houjicha Vanilla Ice-cream Seltzer tastes like a Hōjicha latte turned icy, turned lightly sparkly and turned a slight notch sweeter. Cultivate, where I met this beauty, served it in a crystal wine glass, which, I’d argue, made it feel extra luxurious. But I’d reckon I’d be swigging this from its glass bottle the next time I have it. Tomorrow, probably. And it’d be just as good. — JW
Cultivate, G/F, 27-29 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 5303 1230
The drink: Sicilian Gingermore (HK$68)
Sometimes the simplest of drinks turn out to be the best. Case in point: the Sicilian Gingermore at the brand new live pasta bar, Sicilian, just opened on Hollywood Road.
It’s classed as one of their signatures and it’s easy to see why. It’s your typical lemonade that’s been zhuzhed up with a splash of ginger syrup and zingy lime juice that is freshly squeezed and blended in-house. It introduces a welcomed kick of spice and lands mildly fizzy on the tongue, and each refreshing sip doubles as a welcomed palate cleanser between thick ribbons of homemade pasta. It was delicious! A delightful introduction to the thoughtfully extensive mocktail menu and a tasty starting point if you were to make your way down the full thing. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Sicilian, G/F, Shama Place, 30 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2682 3178
The drink: Glögg (HK$69/bottle)
This comes with the territory when your partner is Swedish. Glögg, according to him, is “so much better” than the other variations. Better known to us plebeians as simply mulled wine, this Swedish rendition is traditionally served warm over a mug of crushed almonds and raisins. Now, if there’s something you should know, it’s that I cannot stand raisins. Their existence is an abomination. Grapes are perfect! And if they are to be dried, crush them and make them wine! Why raisins? Who created this? But I digress — in this mug of deliciously sweetened and flavoured warm wine, the raisins plump up, creating delightful pops of flavour with every sip. Have I been swayed? Well, I am a sucker for anything that heralds in the start of the festive season, so there we go. Get your hands on a couple of bottles now as all the glögg sold out before December last year. Skål! — Sandra Kwong, Features Editor
IKEA, Upper Basement, Parklane Hotel, 310 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, +852 3125 0888