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:
Ponty Café @ The Pontiac
The drink: Dive Bar Bloody (HK$98)
There she is, in all her brooding, mysterious glory. Feast your eyes upon the seasoned rim, the generous selection of snacks. She’s perfect. The most badass crew in town has finally dropped their own Bloody Mary — the Dive Bar Bloody — and they’ll be the first to tell you the key to a good Mary is a heckuva lot of horseradish. Tried & True vodka takes care of the buzz, and the spiced tomato juice just so happens to go down perfectly with The Pontiac’s new “Ponty Café” menu of next-level bar snacks, including a “Hammy” Cubano and Ruffles (!) with dill dip. A perfect eye opener for any day that ends in ‘Y’. — Nathan Erickson, Editor-in-Chief
The Pontiac, 13 Old Bailey St, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2521 3855
PIIN Wine Bar
The drink: Merlot red grape juice, kombucha and Winter black truffle
At an establishment like PIIN Wine Restaurant where wine is a part of the name; the identity; the decor; the pride and joy; the bread and butter, not enjoying a glass (or six, one with every course!) is almost sacrilegious. But this is not, in fact, a glass of Merlot. Surprise! It’s something better, arguably. Depending on who you ask.
A changing menu for changing palates, PIIN’s non-alcoholic drinks pairings are mostly, understandably, wine-inspired. This particular serve arrives at the table empty; then, a single slice of Winter black truffle is gently deposited before a faux Merlot red grape juice — stirred in with kombucha — is poured in. A film of oil immediately rises and, if you’re a big truffle fan, the telltale aroma overwhelms. You’d expect a gulp of something umami; something akin to a flavour you’d attribute to French fries and potato chips and whatever else comes truffle-infused these days. But it doesn’t. Rather, this glass of faux Merlot is sweet; almost mild. A confusing treat for the senses, but a treat no less. — Joey Wong, Editor
PIIN Wine Restaurant, 2/F, The Steps, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2832 7123
The drink: Royal Rose Tea (HK$65 / box of 15)
So, no “real drink” this week! Sorry! I know I said I would, but a fantastic work-from-home routine saw me barely leaving the house for three days. I do, however, have a new tea experience worth sharing with all those who savour their afternoon cuppa.
I wouldn’t say I’m a dedicated tea person, but I do appreciate a steaming mugful every day. What I don’t enjoy though, is waiting for the tea to steep through, which, for the most part, ends up with me forgetting all about it and the tea turning cold. Sad! But with Sticksology, a very clever invention of a tea stick infuser, all my qualms are now no more. It’s essentially tea leaves that have been packed into a thin aluminium foil stick perforated with 427 micro holes along both sides. You can pour in the boiling water and add the milk with no fears of over-steeping and bursting tea bags that leave stray tea leaves in your sip. It also doubles as a stirring spoon — no more half-used-but-can-be-used-again teaspoons by the sink. I love the Breakfast Brew, and more recently, Royal Rose, a black tea lifted by light floral notes. And, the best part, it can be enjoyed cold, too. — Lorria Sahmet, Editor
The drink: Peerie Tea’s Minty Pineapple Cold Brew (HK$98)
I love tea. Much to my husband’s dismay we have a whole shelf dedicated to the stuff, but I find that Peerie Tea’s concoctions are the ones I reach for most. In particular the Minty Pineapple Cold Brew. A 50 gram (reusable) tin of minty pineapple goodness, this loose-leaf cold brew is now a fridge staple. Sustainably sourced (love that), its blend of dehydrated pineapple, organic peppermint, organic hibiscus flower and dehydrated lemon peels is *chef’s kiss*. — Lexi Davey, Managing Editor