Cover Image courtesy of Zzura

Come hither, all ye of parched throat!

Nature is healing as the government announces the further lifting of social distancing restrictions. Most importantly for our readers, bars are set to reopen on May 19 after months of closure. With the warmer weather approaching, the timing couldn't be better to head down to your favourite watering hole to quench your thirst. From fresh openings to innovative new menus, we gather the best places to imbibe in the coming weeks.

Read also: Asia's 50 Best Bars 2022 Revealed, Coa in Hong Kong Retains Top Spot

1. Furutu

New to Peel Street is Furutu, a happy-go-lucky bar concept that revolves around Japanese fruit liqueurs. From a diminutive wood-lined interior replete with fruit-faced mascots peeking outwards, Furutu serves cocktails and highballs based on over 10 fruit liqueurs and umeshu made from either sake or shochu. Easygoing recipes include the gin-based Yuzu Collins and whisky-based Pear Sour; while a range of highballs build on the likes of Kitajima salted yuzu liqueur, Nakata peach umeshu, and Tsukushi green tea umeshu. A small selection of skewers is available for the peckish, while those enamoured with Furutu's mascots can pick up a range of retail products including wine coolers, playing cards, tees and tote bags.

Furutu, 59C Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong; thefurutu.com

2. The Social Den

What happens when you cross tiki cocktails with Asian ingredients and an eye for minimalism? Find out at this new bar opened by Joe Villanueva, co-founder of The Wise King, and Bryson Rivera, previously head bartender at JW Marriott's Q88, who incorporate a cornucopia of Southeast Asian fruits into the makeup of their cocktails. We're particularly fond of Mangosteen, which blends together spiced gin, mangosteen chutney, and a dusting of curry powder for an exotic sweet-savoury combo; and the Coco-Piña, where a pineapple is hollowed out and filled with a cocktail of pandan-infused white rum, kaffir lemongrass coconut milk, and pineapple lager. A snack menu of Cantonese-Polynesian treats promises to keep revellers going late into the night.

The Social Den, 9/F, The Loop, 33 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong; instagram.com/thesocialden.hk

3. Zzura

Middle Eastern-themed bar Zzura continues its exploration of the mythical desert civilisation of Zerzura with an all-new cocktail menu by Gagan Gurung. The eight new cocktails can be split into six drinks based on Middle Eastern botanicals like pomegranate, olive, almond, beetroot and grape. The Iranian-inspired Sharbat mixes citrus vodka, pori (puffed rice), pomegranate vinegar, rooibos tea syrup and caramel; while the Oly Moly combines gin with olive oil, mountain pepper, rosemary syrup, metil and lemon juice. Meanwhile, classics with a twist riff on well-trodden recipes like the Caffeinated Negroni and the Chamomile Whiskey Sour. 

Zzura, 2/F, Amber Lodge, 23 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong; instagram.com/zzura.hk

4. Penicillin

The winner of Asia's Most Sustainable Bar 2021 is back at it again with version 3 of their seasonal cocktail menu. Founders Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale's quest for zero-waste cocktails continues in the shape of drinks named after popular sustainability books: The Human Age is a summer-ready rendition of the martini with its combination of elderflower vermouth, buttered-honeydew gin and calvados; while The Story of Stuff takes inspiration from the piña colada for a clarified and carbonated mixture of cacao-butter rum, pineapple/pandan/kaffir water, and ube. We can also see orders flying off the shelf for How Bad Are Bananas, a cocktail dedicated to the White Rabbit candy of our youth.

Penicillin, LG/F, Amber Lodge, 23 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong; penicillinbar.com 

5. Dio Store

Asian ingredients are the focus of Dio Store's spring collection of cocktails. Sip on familiar flavours in a novel format with libations like the Dashi Dirty Martini (olive, dry vermouth, vodka infused with bonito, kombu, sun-dried mushroom and bait), the Dried Fruit Presidente (dried apricot, fig and mango-infused rum, dry vermouth, orange curaçao, demerara syrup), and the refreshing Kaffir Paloma (kaffir leaf and lemongrass-infused tequila, grapefruit, soda water, smoked salt). If you're extra picky, bartender Bone Cheng can also tailor a bespoke cocktail using the ingredients of your liking.

Dio Store, 8 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong; dio.com.hk

6. Candour

To welcome drinkers back into their space, the folks at Candour have introduced a range of new signature cocktails. There's the Green Light, which mixes Tanqueray, tarragon Chartreuse, sugar snap pea, honeydew, and lime; and the Coast to Coast, a tropical formula of coconut oil-washed ABA pisco, falernum, pineapple stock, lime and nutmeg.

Candour is also debuting The Warm-Up, its happy hour from 3-6pm every Wednesday to Saturday, featuring a range of cocktails that can't be ordered outside of this period. 

Candour, 65 Peel Street, Central, Hong Kong


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