It’s the merriest time of the year! With perfect weather for open-air imbibing and festive holiday drinks like mulled wine and spiced cocktails, what more could you ask for? Check out our list of top places to drink in Hong Kong this December.
Cocktails on tap might have been met by upturned noses by the uninitiated, but Taiwanese cocktail maestro Angus Zou and Hong Kong’s Antonio Lai’s newest venture, Draft Land, is about to change all that. Earlier opened in Taipei, the Taiwanese mixologist is set to revolutionise the Hong Kong’s cocktail scene with their meticulously pre-batched cocktails, a rotating selection each made in 10kg kegs — and hey, hopefully, lightning-fast pours to boot. Cocktails will reportedly go for just around HK$90 apiece, so it’s a refreshingly wallet-friendly alternative compared to current trends. Try it when Draft Land opens on Wyndham Street in early December.
Draft Land, 63 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
Ichu Peru Terraza
One of H Queen’s hottest recent openings is now open for cocktail hour on the terrace. As a leafy urban jungle, this rooftop bar is sure to be a draw for the after-work crowd looking to unwind, particularly with live flowing DJ beats on Tuesday (Ladies get free-flow prosecco, wines and cocktails from 8–10pm), Friday and Saturday. The terrace bar has just launched an El Cantinero weekday drinks menu from 5–8pm, including a dedicated “Pisco O’Clock” selection that allows the South American brandy to shine, paired with flower cordial, coconut water or tropical fruits. Simply order two Pisco cocktails to get a third for free. A menu of Peruvian street snacks rounds up the session with traditional street foods, from anticuchos — Peruvian skewers — to Camote Crocante, made with sweet potato. There’s also shisha by Aces Shisha available with specialty flavours such as Te Del Bosque (earl grey tea, berries and mint) as well as Hermosa Peligrosa (cactus and mixed fruits).
ICHU Peru, 3/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road, Central, Hong Kong
Jeff Bell at PDT Hong Kong
When: 3–10 December
Just hot off the trail of Jim Meehan’s return to Please Don’t Tell Hong Kong just in October, the speakeasy is set to welcome PDT New York’s general manager Jeff Bell behind the bar from 3–10 December only. With over 15 years’ experience in hospitality, Bell is also a partner of PDT Hong Kong and a director of bars for Legacy Records up in New York’s Midtown West. Just last year Bell was named American Bartender of the Year by Tales of the Cocktail — a title held by Meehan back in 2009 — so trust that you’ll be in excellent hands all evening at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong.
PDT Hong Kong, Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 2132 0110
Absolut Elyx Pop-up Boutique
When: 5–31 December, noon–10pm
If you’ve got a premium vodka aficionado on your hands this Christmas and you’re not quite sure what to get, you’ll want to make a trip to the Absolut Elyx Pop-up Boutique. It’s your chance to get your hands on some expert copper barware, such as the prized copper pineapple goblet or this season’s limited edition Felix the Gnome cocktail cup, as well as the silky-smooth Elyx itself. There’ll also be a slew of workshops open to the public, from whisky masterclasses to cocktail workshops; party makeup and hair tutorials to cocktail photography classes.
Absolut Elyx Pop-Up Boutique, 57 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
Tastings Group Seasonal Cocktails
The Tastings Group bar portfolio is home to some of Hong Kong’s most incredible bars — with executive mixologist Antonio Lai at the helm, no less. This season, Quinary, The Envoy, Ori-gin, and VEA Lounge has introduced a whole host of fall-winter concoctions all worthy of lengthy sessions of exploration, with themes ranging from childhood nostalgia to reimagined classics. We’re particularly intrigued by Quinary’s concept of taking the seven Chinese necessities as cocktail categories: firewood, grain, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar and tea — resulting in creations such as the Yuk Bing Su (HK$130; under “oil”), made with mezcal, slow-cooked coriander in Chinese rice liqueur, Amaro Montenegro, toasted glutinous rice syrup; or the Foh Maa Yan (HK$150; under “Tea”), a nicely nutty, Christmassy drink with Michter’s Rye whiskey infused with torched coffee beans, hemp seed syrup, grated tonka bean, cream, thai tea foam, and crushed biscuits and hazelnuts.
Quinary, 56, 58 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2851 3223
Bar de Luxe’s 2nd Anniversary
When: 5, 8 December
Bar De Luxe is celebrating its 2nd birthday with a very special visit by Hidetsugu Ueno, his cocktail excellency/founder of Tokyo’s sister establishment Bar High Five. Here for two nights only, Ueno-san will be working with Hong Kong’s Senior Bartender Ivin Hui, bringing forth special cocktails and new concoctions — if you’re a lover of fine spirits and cocktail craftsmanship, you’ll want to mark these dates in your calendar. A minimum of two drinks per person required, and on the 8th of December, Bar De Luxe will be celebrating with a glass of Champagne and a special canapé on the house.
Bar De Luxe, 30/F, Asia Pacific Centre, 8 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 3706 5716
Old Bailey Happy Hour
Tai Kwun’s Old Bailey may have been catching all the attention recently for its mouthwatering xiaolongbaos and hairy crab delicacies, but its brand-new happy hour focusing on Chinese tea-based cocktails is sure to bring in droves of office bees looking for a more refined tipple after hours. From 4:30pm–8:30pm daily, guests can get in on a two-for-one offer on selected cocktails, beers, red and white wine or house-made kombucha. Pair these with a delectable cakes created by Plantation by Teakha, or the kitchen’s popular mala xiaolongbaos or Shanghainese spring rolls.
Old Bailey, 2/F, JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong
208 Highballs and Meatballs
When: Every Wednesday in December, from 7pm
Celebrate the season with 208’s Highballs and Meatballs promotion, which returns with a festive twist. The Italian eatery regularly hits the spot with their hump day promotion — HK$50 gets you a highball and a snack, whether pizza, fried chicken, or meat ball — but for this month of December, arrive in a “sh*t knit” — aka the ugliest, lumpiest, festivest sweater possible — and you will get a chance to win a magnum of Veuve Clicquot. Paired with old school Christmas tunes, it’s the best way to kick off the season.
Duecento Otto, 208 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2549 0208
Mulled Wine at Aberdeen Street Social
Aberdeen Street Social is an easy stalwart for happy hours around town as it is, but when the weather hits and you’re craving a toasty cup of classic Christmas cocktails, you’ll know where to go: sip mulled wine (HK$60), bourbon-spiked eggnog (HK$90) and a warming winter sangria (HK$98) as well as a more indulgent favourite — hot butter rum with brown sugar and cinnamon (HK$90).
Aberdeen Street Social, G/F, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2866 0300
Nomikai at Zuma
When: Every Sunday, 5:30–7:30pm
Zuma is well known these days for their raucous night “brunch” concept as well as exceptional weekend brunch buffet, best when fueled with copious sake and bubbly. But it’s extending the weekend vibes further through every Sunday afternoon with Nomikai Sundays, a new aperitif session that offers guests an all-you-can-eat selection of canapés with any cocktail order (HK$140). A regular roster of live DJ acts will fuel the afternoon into the early evening, where weekenders, still enjoying the throes of their brunch downstairs, are also invited to join in the session upstairs.
Zuma, 5–6/F, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, +852 3657 6388