Hong Kong’s cocktail scene continues to head up, even as the weather cools. Here, four notable newcomers
By Nick Walton
Part bar, part lab, one of the most innovative recent openings on Hollywood Road is all about challenging our senses. Bartenders at The Woods, which is hidden away below street level, house-cure, infuse, macerate, and barrel-age spirits with a myriad of locally sourced and often unexpected ingredients, including traditional Chinese medicinal herbs. Heady signature drinks include the Blackberry on Rye, with Michter’s rye whiskey, plum bitters, fresh blackberries, and a dash of pinot noir; and a Dirty Dill vodka martini made with pickle brine, mustard seeds, and slivers of gherkin (17 Hollywood Rd.; 852/2522-0281; The Woods).
Another bar taking cocktails to a whole new level is The Envoy. Located at The Pottinger boutique hotel, it offers a chance for “startender” Antonio Lai of Quinary and Origin to team up with award-winning Malaysian bartender Amanda Wan to create a curated collection of innovative elixirs, each with a fascinating name and backstory. With sleek, colonial-inspired interiors, one of the longest bars in town, and a spacious terrace, The Envoy is the ideal starting point for any Hong Kong cocktail crawl, or finishing point after a long afternoon of shopping in
Central (3/F, The Pottinger, 74 Queen’s Rd. Central; 852/2169-3311; The Envoy).
With less science but just as much energy behind the bar, the city’s first Caribbean-themed watering hole capitalizes on Hong Kongers’ new love affair with rum. Rummin’ Tings is the brainchild of brothers Harsh and Rohit Roopchand, the clever chaps behind sensory sensation Fatty Crab. The bar shelves are packed with hard-to-source rums from across the world, and the cocktail menu is laced with fresh fruit and spice —the signature Dutty Wine (named for the Jamaican dance) blends three different rums with red wine, cloves, and cinnamon, and goes perfectly with the Sticky Island ribs and Jamrock jerk chicken (28 Hollywood Rd.; 852/2523-7070; Rummin’ Tings).
Across the harbor in Kowloon, the most anticipated opening on the city’s cocktail circuit is the Hong Kong branch of the Langham London’s elegant Artesian bar, regularly named the world’s best. The space exudes old-world charm and cutting-edge innovation, while highlights on its drinks list include the Lillet-and-absinthe-infused Paddington and the floral Gin Mare, a blend of basil, thyme, and rosemary named for its gin base. In fact, the bar’s selection of 52 bourbons and 34 gins ensures there are plenty of adventurous combinations on offer (The Langham Hong Kong; 8 Peking Rd., Tsimshatsui; 852/2375-1133; Artesian).
This article originally appeared in the December/January print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Tipple Play”)