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.
The drink: Dokdo Gimlet (HK$100)
The Dokdo Gimlet is an OBP staple, so beloved, in fact, that it traversed down Hollywood Road to be mixed up and served Honky-style by Adam Schmidt on 21 September (alongside very good menu additions like Makgeoli Slushies and Bulgogi Pizzas). Which was where I met it for the first time. And, oh man, it was love at first sip.
It’s a simple concoction, just Korean sake, apple shrub, lime and lemon — topped off with a single sliver of dried apple (good mid-sip snack) skewered through with, of course, a paper Korean flag. On the tongue, it tastes just like an apple-flavoured soda, which, depending on where you stand on the spectrum, could land either way. I, for one, sure do love them apples. Luckily for me, I can still find the Dokdo Gimlet on its home turf at OBP — and I suggest you do, too.
OBP, LG/F, 3-5 Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong
Honky Tonks Tavern, Man Hing Lane, Central, Hong Kong, +852 5428 5627
Lung Fu Pao
The drink: Dutty Marge (HK$120)
Any cocktail that starts with salt on the rim is automatically going to be the first one I order, and likely to be the one I order again and again. And again. Lung Fu Pao’s Dutty Marge (HK$120) edges the rim with yuzu salt, before pouring in tequila, citrus and Hong Kong’s own Flagrant Hot Sauce for a combo that ticks all of my boxes. Order it again, and again. And again. If you can’t take the heat, switch things out for their tequila soda — one of the coldest in the city. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
Lung Fu Pao, 47B Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3460 4609
The drink: Dragon’s Pearls (HK$138)
Trekking around the Soho slopes is hard! Especially in this humidity, and amid standing rules to keep face masks strung firmly in place. So I like to treat myself to something delicious, a mini “Job Well Done”; one when I reach all the way up to the top, then another, when I eventually make my way back down. Sometimes it’s a refreshing fizzy soda, other times, when I’m feeling particularly sorry for my huffing-and-puffing self, a bubble milk tea (the hilly climb is a workout!) –– full milk, freshly steeped tea and extra ice, please.
Now before I inspire you to get your own from any ol’ tea stall, I’ll let you in on one better: Dragonfly’s Dragon’s Pearls. It’s bubble milk tea all grown up, concocted with an authentic jasmine milk tea base and spiked with a splash of floral gin, creme de cassis and brandy. A single sip is extremely light on the palate, lingering with a floral sweetness that’s never too syrupy, before rounding out into a creamy nuttiness that’s accompanied by the satisfying chew of homemade boba pearls. It arrives served in the typical takeaway cup with a wide glass straw, recreating the original experience. Except you’re sitting comfortably under a stream of air-conditioning in the cocktail lounge’s emerald interiors and it’s a lot, lot better. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
Dragonfly, Shop 10-G1, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2777 2633
The drink: East India Co. (HK$88)
This looks like a chai tea, and it even has similar top notes of cardamon, saffron and black tea. The next second, though, you’re getting wafts of sweet mango and the unmistakable burn of whiskey. It’s a journey that culminates with a sip; a sip of divine richness harkening back to the days of vibrant summers. It’s a symphony of flavours, gently enriched by the spice in our meals. It’s a concoction for the brave and the heady. A milk punch, but also, so much more. — Sandra Kwong, Features Editor
Bombay Dreams, 1/F Winning Centre, 46 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2811 9888