The Hong Kong cocktail scene has blossomed over the past five years, going from a place best known for clubbing and its heaving streets of Lan Kwai Fong, to being the home of world class bars rivalling those in established cocktail cities around the world. After more than two months of bar closures due to Covid-19 restrictions, now seems as good a time as any to highlight those who have led the way, and the ones who have followed and lifted the industry as a whole. From bartender owned-and-run joints, to bars nestled within hotels and larger establishment, Hong Kong boasts a diverse range of venues for a good tipple. When visiting, don’t forget to say hi to the ladies and gentlemen behind the stick—a bar is just as much about the people who helm them as the cocktails they make.
If you have not had a chance to visit a mezcaleria in Oaxaca, Mexico before, this is as close as it comes outside of it. Jay Khan, co-founder and head bartender of COA, is your go-to man for all things agave not just in Hong Kong, but internationally. Let him take you on a tasting adventure through the wild and diverse world of tequila and mezcals, best enjoyed from copitas (shallow terracotta cups traditionally used in Oaxaca). Jay also frequently experiments with fermentation techniques to incorporate into his cocktails, so be on the lookout for specials. A mainstay is the Tepache, made with fermented pineapple skin and cinnamon, but also don’t leave without trying La Paloma de Oaxaca, a gentle twist of the Mexican classic with a rim of tangy worm salt. You can also purchase a canned version of their La Paloma, created in collaboration with Young Master Ales.
Shop A, LG/F Wah Shin House, 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong