Skip to main content

State of the bar in Hong Kong

So... I finally visited Christofer here in Hong Kong. It has been too long (and too long just local vacation with some rare exceptions in Dubai).

HK was one of my choices to visit, not only because its coolness, but also because of its bar culture.
It is very difficult to rate bar culture from afar. Often it is more the state of marketing than the real quality of the bar - hence experience s a very important part of making yourself the picture.

So I went to a couple of the more advanced places and know now more.

Antonio Lai seems to be here hugely successful, and he seems to just hit the sweet spot between mass compatibility and advanced mixing technique. I visited one of his “outposts” Quinary. It seems, that he is the closest, what a bartender/mixology could come to a celebrity chef. The cocktails were good - I had a carbonated drink (Perlini) with lemongrass redistilled gin. I think this was the most innovative technique I have seen. And it worked - the lemongrass was bright and zesty, far better than any infusion I have ever tasted. I was just curious, why he just redistilled gin, and didn’t just flavored vodka and made his own gin??

Otherwise the cocktails were inventive, though at times a bit unbalanced and partly just copies of “molecular recipes” you could have found a couple of years ago in leading US bars.
The atmosphere was pretty good - typical cocktail bar - but the portfolio was strangely “peasant” - in a city, which has a ton of importers, it seems an odd choice to go for Jack Daniel’s, Tanqueray and Bacardi.
Otherwise the staff was cool - maybe a bit hipster one-dimensional. No real complaints.

Chachawan is a Thai bar. They are using quinine syrup instead of tonic water - cool. Otherwise they do good drinks, with an adequate reduced spirit portfolio. It has more the attitude of a neighborhood bar, though with serious quality of the drinks.

Pontiac was a bar, which I found pretty surprising. Think a dive bar, which has really a great booze portfolio and really proper cocktails. It is small, it is often raucous, loud music ranging from pop to death metal. Not necessary my favorite place - but good quality nonetheless. Unfortunately they don’t really pushing the limits.

A completely different bar was Bar de Luxe - a Japanese place - a hidden place (without any gadgets - just within a business building, without any signage... you really have to know, where to go) - very reduced and refined. No gimmicks, not tricks (besides of ice balls / and carved ice cubes).
This bar had an amazing selection of Japanese whisky. Good quality cocktails - though nothing really cutting edge.

Last bar, I have been to was Stockton. Also pretty speak easy (again no gadget, but again, you really need to know, where to go). This bar had a lot of atmosphere... dark wood, dim light with candles on the tables. Food was good... but rather pub style. Cocktail were whimsical and contemporary... but again not really anything, which really pushes the envelope.

Compared to Dubai, there are more good and contemporary bars. But comparing bar to bar, Hong Kong doesn’t (yet) has anything to offer, which totally surprises you. I would see it as opportunity...

Overall I was surprised about the great level of spirits there are available. A lot of bars have got a selection of Michter’s Bourbon/Rye, which is delicious and affordable. Gin is also pretty much a trend - you can find a lot of good gins here.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How to use citric acid - and why you might not want to use it anyway!

To be honest, I shied away of this topic, because I think, people can misinterpret this - big time.


I don't want to be part of the problem - I want to be part of the solution! But when Chris, over at A Bar Above discussed this subject- I literally could not resist to join into "the discussion".

Here is the video:





I - however take a bit slower approach than Chris.
What is citric acid?
Chemical Compound
Citric acid is a weak organic acid with the formula C6H8O7. It is a natural preservative/conservative and is also used to add an acidic or sour taste to foods and drinks.
Wikipedia Formula: C6H8O7
Molar Mass: 192.124 g/mol
Melting Point: 153C
Density: 1.66 g/cm3
Boiling point: 175C
Soluble in: Water
Why is it controversial?
In my "mixology world" it is controversial, as citric acid is the stuff, which makes the nightmarish sour mix [preferably in powder form] sour. Yeah - citric acid is the main ingredient in one of the most controversial [and in the modern craft bartending wor…

The "perfect" Martini Extra Dry Cocktail

The Martini cocktail is one of the most disputed drink of all times - and one of the drink, which dramatically changed through the times - I would say, not to its disadvantage.

I shied from this topic a long time. It is just a mammoth of a topic with a lot of controversy. But what has to be done, has to be done!

Lets first of all understand, about what we are talking about:

We talking about the original Martini cocktail - which is gin based!
We are also touching the topic of Vodka Martinis - and maybe throw some understanding of the Vesper Martini in it.






We are not talking about things, which have only the glass in common to this substantial cocktail:

French martiniDiverse fruit martinis [melon, strawberry, apple, raspberry or any other audacity]Espresso martiniBreakfast martiniChocolate martiniCosmopolitan [sometimes impudently called Cosmo martini]Marteanis [or however you like to call it.Any other B*S* martini, showing up on some cocktail menus throughout the world.A drink which is …

The "perfect" Whiskey Sour

After the high popularity of my Mojito post - as well as the also well liked post about the Diablo, I would like to highlight here, another bar staple: The humble Whiskey Sour.

Also: if you can make a proper Whiskey Sour, you can do a lot of other Sours - basically you can take any distillate and make a Sour out of it...

I call it the "perfect" Whiskey Sour to be obviously a bit provocative - but also, as you get often a less than perfect drink, when you are ordering one.

So what are the ingredients of a Whiskey Sour?

American Whiskey [yes - I say it: definitely no Scotch, also for sure no Canadian, no Irish and obviously no Japanese]Truth has to be told - there is definitely something like an adequate Scotch Sour. But it should simply not be called Whiskey Sour, as the character is totally different. Period!Lemon JuiceSugarOptional egg white Additional to the ingredients, these features are also important to consider: Balance between sweet and sourIngredient proportionsA prope…