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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 on and savoured this week:

CHAAT

The drink: The Deepest Cave (HK$170)

Full disclosure before I begin: the drink comes, of course, filled to the brim, I just took two mammoth gulps before remembering about this column. My apologies! Now — there’s a lot to love at CHAAT, but this isn’t Best Bites.

I had a regrettable experience with a blue cocktail a couple weeks back, so when this drink arrived dressed in black, another inedible colour (arguably, more inedible), my stomach churned; tongue, dried. Until it proved me wrong.

“The Deepest Cave” — the Andrya Pradesh representative from CHAAT’s “Indian Spices Inspired Cocktail” menu — is introduced with scant descriptors: tequila, chilli, charcoal. You’re left wondering! No, it’s not a tequila soda cast in shadow, super-villain-style. Rather, it’s a lightly sweet, almost cola-flavoured serve. You can almost imagine it with vanilla ice cream scooped over top, like an old-fashioned Coke float. Oh, and it comes with a snack! Ten out of ten. — Joey Wong, Editor

CHAAT, 5/F, Rosewood Hong Kong, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 5239 9220

Stockton

The drink: Fear and Loathing (HK$120)

So it’s back-to-back Best Sips for Stockton — not something we planned, but when you’re hot, you’re hot. And of course my favourite cocktail on Stockton’s new Hunter S. Thompson-themed “Creativity of Sins” menu would share its name with the book that made the man my favourite writer / indulger as a wayward youth, inspiring me to do, well, whatever it is I do today.

The “Fear and Loathing” puts Gonzo in a glass, pairing berries, Pilsner and smoke with the carbonated spirit of a Singapore Sling, a drink preferably sipped poolside at the Beverly Hilton, but in these now-firmly precedented times, we take what we can get — and drink until we’re in Bat Country. Word to head bartender Lok Gurung, who also makes one of the coldest tequila sodas in town. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief

Stockton, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2565 5268 

Lyre’s

The drink: Amalfi Spritz (HK$128/four)

I love an Aperol Spritz. I’ve confessed this love time and time again. I even made a case to why it’s more than a summer drink, as many might assume. But there is one rare moment when I don’t hold the same affection for my dear Spritz: Outdoors in the sun. I don’t mean alfresco at a rooftop bar with the spray of a giant mist fan. I’m talking about those moments when someone thinks a picnic would be a fabulous idea, and then poor Aperol is lugged around in 30-degree heat, then served in warm glasses under the sun.

To be honest, drinking under the sun is another non-love. It’s hot, humid and I would rather have a Cream Soda. If we were at a restaurant with a chilled glass, it would be a different story. Which is why Lyre’s new line of ready-to-drink cocktails filled me with wide-eyed intrigue, especially the Amalfi Spritz. But if you remove the iconic visual of sunset orange and the alcohol-by-volume, is it just as good? I’ll let you know. The award-winning Amalfi Spritz (taking home Gold at the International Spirits Challenge 2021 in No & Low category) pours bright orange like Fanta and sips with a bittersweet aftertaste that almost resembles the real thing. Almost. It finishes with a mild touch of sweet citrus; I assume to mimic the soaked orange slice. It’s recommended poured into a wine glass piled with ice (See, a chilled glass is always better!) and served with as many orange slices as you please. I’ll never lose my love for the real thing, but this is a fair contender for days that demand an alternative. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor

Lyre’s ready-to-drink cocktails are available for purchase here.

Stockton

The drink: Where The Buffalo Roams (HK$160) 

I’m a pandan-head so I will always beeline to a drink — or dish! — that has somehow incorporated the plant into it. While one might initially balk at the price, “Where The Buffalo Roams” is a true masterpiece that you’ll just have to try at least once. Or more!  

Beverage Manager Lok Gurung takes you on a sensory journey with this heady concoction, first with the visually alarming, almost cartoonish green (from the pandan!), and then the burnt Lapsang Souchong tea leaves as garnish, before, finally; the grand reveal! The sip! And what a sip it is. Strong as whisky goes, but with a light sour kick from the Maraschino and a lingering medicinal bite from the Fernet. Golly. It’s a masterpiece. — Sandra Kwong, Features Editor

Stockton, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2565 5268 

(Hero and featured images courtesy of Stockton)

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