There are several harbingers of summer in Hong Kong.
There’s a distinct inability to falter certain distances from an air-conditioned room; that’s one. Then, there’s a slow trickle of “Junk?” messages on WhatsApp group chats; that’s two. And finally, the tell-tale sign of summer: A generous pour of ice-cold Aperol Spritz. Glasses of summer sakes. A hefty handle of frothy craft beer. We’re currently setting up our ‘Out-of-Office’ autoresponders — you’ll probably find us at these following locations come happy hour.
Travel bug thoroughly unsatisfied from a year of staying in and staying put? How’s 1920’s Buenos Aires as a destination vacation? Boticario — backdropped by the Tsim Sha Tsui East waterfront — is an expansive, two-storey cocktail bar and grill inspired by the early farmacias of pre-war Buenos Aires; now, re-opened. Thematically attached to a medicinal muse, Boticario’s roster of cocktails are, understandably, concocted to be ‘cures for the modern age’, with the ails being separated into ‘Serendipity’, ‘Sanguine’, ‘Melancholy’ and ‘Nostalgia’ categories; we’re particularly tempted by Serendipity’s ‘Smoke Bomb’ garnish — a flavoured bubble that pops upon touch.
Rather than the typical Happy Hour, Boticario opts for a ‘2-for-1 Healing Hour’ instead, stretching from 3–7pm every day.
Adding to the neighbourhood izakaya’s already-rich portfolio, Okra Hong Kong’s summer menu highlights brand-new, flown-in-from-Japan sake selections hand-curated by Sake Sommelier Izaskun Levy and Chef Max Levy. Each season’s sake roster is bolstered by what’s currently on the menu and what rice will fit whichever flavour profile is on hand for the season. From a full-bodied Wakatakeya “Debut” Muroka Nama Genshu JMDGJ (HK$120 per glass) that pairs perfectly with smoky, chargrilled fares to a slightly acidic 11-year aged Wakatakeya “Genroku Shu” Junmai Koshu (HK$130 per glass), there’s a sake option to fit every dish — and every palate.
Be hasty with reservations, though; Okra Hong Kong’s last day of operations is 31 July.
Basking in a blanket of magenta-pink neon, brewery-eatery GRAIN is a new-in collaborative venture between Woolly Pig Hong Kong and Gweilo — sitting pretty against Kennedy Town’s waterfront. On-site is the Gweilo Brewlab; the only working brewery housed within a dining establishment in Hong Kong, offering beer workshops and taste tests for not-yet-released concoctions. On tap are a rotating selection of 24 brews, created by both Gweilo and other select breweries, and a series of on-tap cocktails like the Pineapple Mojito and Gin & Tonic.
When: 9 June
Let there be drinks, but let there also be education. ‘Hapusa’ stands for ‘Juniper’ in Sanskrit, a brand name pulling directly from gin’s most distinct ingredient. This rendition in particular is distilled in India with foraged Himalayan Juniper and locally sourced botanicals. Bartending phenomenon Samuel Kwok leads this private ‘Hapusa Himalayan Dry Gin’ experience (HK$250 per person) at Hugger Mugger, complementing four small dishes from Chaiwala with four delicious gin cocktails, concocting a culinary journey with stops along the Himalayas — no passports necessary.
The tell-tale sign of a summertime sundowner: An ice-cold Aperol Spritz, swilled generously into a venti-sized wine goblet. The colour of sunsets. The colour of a great time. Fans of this summertime staple are in luck, for Stazione Novella has Aperol Spritzes on tap at just HK$48 every Monday.
Frosé. All. Day. Copy that rolls off the tongue like that? Worthy of a majestic homecoming. The Lebanese canteen’s signature frozen rosé returns for its fifth edition this summer from 12 June; National Rose Day, naturally. Available by the glass (HK$58) or by pitcher (HK$208), Maison Libanaise’s frosé is churned from frozen rosé wine, fresh raspberry purée and topped with a sprig of mint. Summertime in a glass; perfect alongside the Maison’s Mashawi (HK$388) or Harissa-roasted Cauliflower (HK$128).