Where to drink in Hong Kong in May 2021

There’s a lot to celebrate this month in Hong Kong. The steady roll-out of vaccinations, for one. The nine Hong Kong drinking establishments that made the 2021 roster of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, for another. If you’re scrambling for a place to toast to your (finally) jabbed-and-sore arm, here’s a quick list of the brand-new drinks programmes in town.

If you ever want your sundowner paired with one of Hong Kong’s most postcard-worthy views, La Rambla by Catalunya is always a trusty bet. Brand new and ice-cold for summer is a menu of four Tanqueray-made gin and tonic variants, including the Classic G&T (HK$80), made with Tanqueray gin with the prototypical garnish of lemon, lime and tonic; Ten Temptations (HK$80), with Tanqueray Ten, Tanqueray bitters and a tinge of orange; Rangpur Passion (HK$80), with Tanqueray Rangpur and a swish of passionfruit; and Malecconade (HK$80), with Tanqueray Malacca, fresh mint and lemonade. If you’re keen for a cheeky bite, order Gin & Tapas (HK$110) and wash down a Classic G&T with a scrumptious spread of jamon croquetas. Or, simply opt for La Rambla by Catalunya’s tapas-led Happy Hour menu, which runs from 3 – 8pm.

Coming in hot, hot, hot at number 26 on the 2021 edition of Asia’s Best Bars, The Pontiac is serving up the win with a brand new drinks menu for May. Deadly Long Islands are given the Beckaly Franks treatment with the bar’s own Shells & Cigarettes (HK$88); an ecoSPIRIT libation clarified with milk in a solution of Widges Gin, Tried & True Vodka, Plantation 3 Star, Arquitecto Tequila, Citrus Scrap oleo saccharum and a coke float. If you’re in the mood for something that tastes a little like butterscotch (with no Scotch; mind the name), Scottie Can Hopscotch (HK$88) offers delicious Amaro Montenegro-forward sips. Gin aficionados, sprint towards Run Rabbit Run (HK$88), a laboratory masterpiece made with a house-infused Purple Carrot Gin.

If you’ve always held fingers crossed for a true-blue vermuteria in Hong Kong, your wishes have been granted with the House of Aperitivo — 208 Duecento Otto’s answer to your cries for vermouth. A new floor concept specialising in the botanics-infused fortified wine — there are 45 brands represented! — and your newest haven for a paired-to-perfection Italian aperitivo.

New on the drinks program, too, are a wide selection of wines sourced from different regions through Italy.

When: Through 31 May

KI NO BI sets up a month-long residency at Sake Central with the ‘House of KI NO BI’; a celebration of Japan’s first craft gin in a sensorial experience — designed alongside Chef Shun Sato through an 8-course gin-Japanese cuisine pairing menu — that mimics an immersive journey to Kyoto. A trip most probably bookmarked for so many Hongkongers in the times of Covid-19’s land-bound existence. Bar Buonasera’s Ayako Miyake, the first runner-up of Japan Kanto female bartenders competition, is on hand to conduct a series of ‘6Elements’ Masterclasses every weekend from 15 – 31 May.

There’s always a sense of occasion at The Ritz-Carlton’s Ozone; it is, after all, still the highest bar in the world. If you’re keen for an elemental drinks experience, head up for a cocktail (and savoury afternoon tea, too) inspired by the five elements. Fire (HK$138) tempers Mezcal-forward flavours of smoke and spice with Thai-style spiced sugar; be warned, it arrives with a roar of flame. Metal (HK$138) cuts sharp with citrus and floral notes; Water (HK$138) deep-dives into Eco-spirit Plantation Rum with a bite of seaweed crisp floating at the rim. Earth (HK$138) is a nutty tribute to a lush, earthy piña colada, while Wood (HK$138) tenders towards sophistication as a Bulleit Bourbon-based cocktail infused with fat-washed black truffle.

When: 6 – 16 May

As a hearty, well-deserved toast to DarkSide’s debut on Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021 ranking at a commendable number 40, four limited-edition cocktails were designed and ideated in celebration by four different members from the now award-winning bar’s team. Come one and come all to DarkSide through 16 May and order up APPROACHING by Chris Chan (HK$180), a beautiful temper of Michter’s Rye, Mancino Bianco, Campari and London Essence Ginger Beer; ASIAN DREAM by Head Bartender KT Lam (HK$180), a tribute to Asian liquors and flavours; BLOOD AND SWEET by Bartender Heather Cheng (HK$180), a playful concoction of Roku Gin, Mancino Secco, Tomato Consomme and Calendula Cordial; and A 800 DAYS JOURNEY by Bar Captain Asish Rana (HK$180), a sultry, handsome blend of Plantation Dark, Mancino Rosso, Campari and Balsamic Chocolate. Congratulations, DarkSide!

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