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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.

The best drinks we sipped on and savoured this week:

Penicillin

The drink: The Wilding (HK$120)

Maybe you’re an unswerving devotee to the shrine of vodka-based cocktails. Or, just a simple gal with a tequila-mezcal complex. Whatever it is, here’s the truth of the matter: your pick of poison is holding you back. Here to help rectify (or, at the very least, allow room for experimentation), each drink on Penicillin’s brand-new V3 Black Summer menu comes with a comprehensive list of ingredients… except for the one you’re likely looking for: the liquor. But that’s the idea.

The Wilding’s miso, guava, shiso and lychee nectar notes count down four flavours I know I’d love. All together, it’s a savoury cocktail with an almost fruity aftertaste. It’s the kind of drink that leaves behind a a complex melange of “Hm, what am I tasting?”, from the first sip to the final swallow — and then, still. The button mushroom garnish — by then, soaked through — should be your last, whisky-soused bite. Had I known The Wilding was a whisky-based drink, I might have been a little less confident in my order, but that’s the fun of the menu: the not knowing. And, then, the discovery. Of something new, of a flavour you might’ve written off for one reason or another.

So, go on. Go in blind. Try something you wouldn’t have before. Then, swish it all down with A Moveable Feast by Agung. — Joey Wong, Editor

Penicillin, Amber Lodge, L/G, 23 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 9880 7995

Binggrae

The drink: Banana Flavoured Milk (HK$8)

Let me first begin by saying, I did sip on drinks other than this bright yellow carton this week, but it’s just that I did not photograph them (sorry Chaiwala, sorry Tempo Tempo), so I have reverted back to my convenience store habits for this entry. So, even if this might not necessarily be a Best Sip, it is a Favourite Sip, which still counts, right?

Anyway before you write off the banana milk entirely, I’m being absolutely serious when I say this is a very delicious drink and I would have it every day if I could. If you don’t believe me, the banana milk has fans across the world who will attest to the ingenious creation from 1970s South Korea after the government attempted to find other inspired ways to get the country to drink more milk (full history class at the Banana Milk Wikipedia page here). Once you do get into it — and you probably will — there’s a whole world of banana milk to discover. But Binggrae, the original make, is the best. The pale yellow beverage are normally sold in an oddly rounded, kind-of-inverted-hourglass plastic packaging that’s said to resemble Korean jars, and the carton version, updated for what I assume is easy transporting and packing, does the exact same sweet, banana-y, creamy, refreshing beverage that puts everything else in the milk family to shame. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor

Available at select Circle K locations.

Equal Exchange

The drink: Organic Spearmint Herbal Tea (HK$39 for a box of 20 tea bags)

In a strange twist of events (because I rarely drink anything other than water), I’ve found myself chugging mugs of spearmint tea nonstop this past week. Like, six to eight mugs a day. Now, before you write me off as crazy, I want to explain. After having clear skin my whole life, I, for the very first time, started breaking out all around my chin area a few months ago. Which is crazy, because I’m no longer a hormonal teenager, but I guess God — or whoever’s orchestrating my life from up there — feels differently. With my new spotty face, I’ve just been feeling very down and icky…

Which, you know, got me Googling for home cures. Asides from taking BC and spironolactone (disclaimer: don’t take medical advice from me, I’m not a doctor), I learned that spearmint tea is an anti-androgen. I won’t get into the science, but the conclusion is, it’s a natural supplement that’s supposed to help with hormonal acne. So I do what I always do when I’m desperate — I go all out.

Luckily, Equal Exchange’s Organic Spearmint Herbal Tea is caffeine-free and not too “cooling”, which means I don’t feel like fainting or get hit with waves of nausea even after drinking eight cups of the stuff, as I do with green tea. It’s also certified organic and fair trade, as the brand works with small farmers throughout Egypt. And in terms of taste, I’ve always been a peppermint fan, and spearmint is simply peppermint on drugs — like, peppermint, but with a more concentrated scent. Even without the acne, I’d chug eight cups a day. You should try it (but maybe start with one cup)! — Charmaine Ng, Editor

Available online on iHerb.

Terrible Baby

The drink: Pornstar Martini (HK$90)

The weather in Hong Kong when spring becomes summer is unfathomable. One day it’s suffocatingly sultry, the other it’s gloomy and bleak like in a Tim Burton movie. My birthday falls on one of these days, which means the birthday girl and her company are navigating their way through Nathan Road under the most unpleasant of conditions.

Terrible Baby nestles on the fourth floor of Eaton HK, you get there by ascending a surrealistically empty escalator hallway lit by dark blue neon lights (sort of like the beginning of Disneyland’s Hyperspace Mountain, but quiet). But it’s time we moved on to the drink of the hour: Pornstar Martini. The menu says it best: “a crowd pleaser, sweet & fruity bubbles”, this classic drink is a mellow blend of tropical flavours with a malty aftertaste, every sip is like a gentle greeting to the throat. I won’t pretend I know anything about cocktails, but to me and my amateur taste buds, it’s a winner.

So goes the thrill of galloping four drinks as if there’s no tomorrow then retreating from the scene of crime when 10 o’clock strikes — nobody told me it’s so unromantic to be the modern Cinderella. — Michelle Chan, Editor

Terrible Baby, 4/F, Eaton HK, 380 Nathan Road, Kowloon, +852 2710 1866

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