Worldwide icon-chevron-right Asia icon-chevron-right Hong Kong icon-chevron-right Top Hong Kong bartenders share their favourite cocktails from the city’s best bars
The Diplomat's Blinker Highball, Coa's Coconut Milk Punch, and The Old Man's Soldier's Home #1925
Photograph: Courtesy The Diplomat, Calvin Sit, The Old Man Hong Kong The Diplomat's Blinker Highball, Coa's Coconut Milk Punch, and The Old Man's Soldier's Home #1925

Top Hong Kong bartenders share their favourite cocktails from the city’s best bars

It's World Cocktail Day today! Here are cocktail recommendations from Hong Kong's leading mixologists.

By Tatum Ancheta
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It's always cocktail hour somewhere but today is a little special because May 13 marks the celebration of World Cocktail Day. All around the globe, bartenders are busy mixing cocktails to commemorate the day that the definition of 'cocktail' was put into print in 1806. It was published in the New York tabloid The Balance and Columbian Repository and defined a cocktail as "a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters." 

To celebrate World Cocktail Day, we've shaken and stirred Hong Kong's top mixologists to share their favourite cocktails in the city and the bar (aside from their own) to go to get this boozy drink. So, if you're heading out for a tipple tonight, check out these bars and order these tried and tested drinks.  

RECOMMENDED: If you need more recommendations, you can also hit up these venues for the latest drink promotions or check out new drinking dens in the city

Jay Khan COA
Jay Khan COA
Photograph: Calvin Sit

Jay Khan, co-founder, Coa 

Favourite cocktail: Mezcal Garibaldi (mezcal, Campari, bitter, and fresh orange juice)

Order it from: DarkSide (Tsim Sha Tsui)

"A Mezcal Garibaldi made by Simone Rossi at DarkSide is what I'm craving right now. It is a simple take on the classic Garibaldi cocktail with the addition of mezcal! The drink is fresh, complex, and delicious, perfect for this [warm] weather."

The Diplomat's John Nugent
The Diplomat's John Nugent
Photograph: Ben Marans/The Diplomat

John Nugent, co-founder, The Diplomat 

Favourite cocktail: Hard slushie (flavours change daily)

Order it from: The Shade Acres (Central)

"At the end of a long week. I like to just treat myself to one of The Shady Acres's daily slushies or a cold beer and a shot of American whiskey with The Shady Acres's crew. It's really a great neighbourhood bar. Here I can get a nice meal, and I always run into some friends there – for better or worse." 

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Beckaly Franks, co-owner, The Pontiac 
Beckaly Franks, co-owner, The Pontiac 
Photograph: Courtesy The Pontiac

Beckaly Franks, co-owner, The Pontiac 

Favourite cocktails: La Paloma de Oaxaca (tequila blanco, mezcal joven, lime, grapefruit soda, worm salt, and grapefruit peel); Coconut Milk Punch (tamarind, Mount Gay XO rum, Los Danzantes Joven, dry sherry, coffee, coconut cream, pineapple, lemon cardamom, and salt)

Order it from: Coa (Central) 

"I usually drink the Paloma at Coa. They also have a really beautiful milk punch. As an agave babe myself, if I'm going to drink a cocktail, I'll usually end up going to Coa and getting one of their cocktails. I love the ambience, and how they use agave in their cocktails. It's exquisite and approachable. Plus, the team there is fucking amazing! They've been dear friends ever since we opened. Coa is a great place to promote really beautiful agave, and we're here for that."  

Nikita Matveev, director of operations, The Old Man Hong Kong 
Nikita Matveev, director of operations, The Old Man Hong Kong 
Photograph: Courtesy The Old Man Hong Kong 

Nikita Matveev, director of operations, The Old Man Hong Kong 

Favourite cocktail: English Milk Punch (rum, brandy, milk, citrus, anise and other spices)

Order it from: The Diplomat (Central)

"I love the Milk Punch from The Diplomat. It's a silken, spirited punch that withstands the test of time. I like American style cocktail bars, and The Diplomat serves amazing drinks with great classic knowledge. They also have an amazing team and delicious food! So it's definitely worth visiting." 

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Lorenzo Antinori
Lorenzo Antinori
Photograph: Courtesy Caprice

Lorenzo Antinori, beverage manager, Caprice

Favourite cocktail: Bees Knees (Barr Hill Gin, lemon, and Caledonia raw honey) 

Order it from: DarkSide (Tsim Sha Tsui)

"I love the Bees Knees at DarkSide. It's a great combination of sweet and sour, and the mellow honey from gin Barr Hill really shines through. I actually rarely order the same drink twice or thrice and usually go for a Negroni, but 'that' Bees Knees is an exception. Plus, DarkSide provides great service and a perfect vibe if you want to have a cosy night."

The Wise King Sandeep Kumar
The Wise King Sandeep Kumar
Photograph: Courtesy The Wise King

Sandeep Kumar, founder, The Wise King 

Favourite cocktail: Soldier's Home #1925 (apple marigold white rum, lemon balm sherry, pink lady apple sous-vide riesling, and lemon leaf soda) 

Order it from: The Old Man Hong Kong (Central) 

"The Old Man is one of my favourite bars in the city. They have very friendly staff, and I like the bar's concept and design. Their Ernest Hemingway-inspired cocktails never disappoint. I always order their Soldier's Home #1925 cocktail every time I drop by."  

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Antonio Lai, owner, Quinary
Antonio Lai, owner, Quinary
Photograph: Courtesy Zuma

Antonio Lai, owner, Quinary

Favourite cocktails: La Paloma de Oaxaca (tequila blanco, mezcal joven, lime, grapefruit soda, worm salt, and grapefruit peel); Eco Gibson (vodka, up-cycled salted dry vermouth, garnished with shio-koji lacto fermented red cabbage) 

Order it from: Coa; Penicillin (Central)

"I love going to Coa and Penicillin. Coa always provides drinks that can also be served as a mocktail. They always put effort into making their drinks and crafting their own fruit sodas. Plus, the service is always good and friendly, they easily make me feel at home. I always enjoy a drink at Penicillin too. Their drinks make me feel good, not only because they taste good but also because they are eco-friendly. Drinking it makes me feel like I'm helping make the world better."  

Sandeep Hathiramani
Sandeep Hathiramani
Photograph: Courtesy Tell Camellia/Jasyon Wu

Sandeep Hathiramani, co-founder, Tell Camellia 

Favourite cocktail: Pistachio Sour (fresh pistachio shrub, ricotta foam, and pistachio rum)

Order it from: The Wise King (Central) 

"When asked about a favourite cocktail, the very first drink that comes to mind is The Wise King's Pistachio Sour. It is refreshing with a citrus kick served with beautiful foam and layers. I recommend The Wise King for its cosy laid back ambience, perfect for those who love to imbibe on good cocktails. It's also a hidden bar in the alley – not known to most people – so it makes it a special find."

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Penicillin bar, Agung Prabowo
Penicillin bar, Agung Prabowo
Photograph: Courtesy Penicillin

Agung Prabowo, co-founder, Penicillin 

Favourite cocktails: Amber Lodge (Michter's Bourbon, Mr Black Coffee Amaro, salted amaretto, ginger, and pineapple)

Order it from: The Diplomat (Central)

“I like going to The Diplomat. It's a great bar to go to for classic cocktails and good food. One of my favourite drinks is the Amber Lodge, a twist to the classic Penicillin cocktail. John Nugent named the drink after the building where my own bar, Penicillin, is located."

Simone Rossi - DarkSide
Simone Rossi - DarkSide
Photograph: Courtesy DarkSide

Simone Rossi, beverage manager, DarkSide

Favourite cocktail: Blinker Highball (raspberry rye, Austrian bitter, unripe grapes, celery, and grapefruit soda)

Order it from: The Diplomat (Central) 

"The Diplomat's Blinker Highball is a great and clever interpretation of the classic blinker recipe. I love that the cocktail kept its classic identity, but the touch of grapefruit soda makes it refreshing and easy to drink. The celery ribbon served on top is a great addition and adds to the aroma. I love going to The Diplomat because it is not a pretentious bar and very easy going. And their snacks are really good! You can go there to chill with friends, or you can also go a little wild and have a party! John is always a great host, and the team is nice too!” 

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Devender Kumar 
Devender Kumar 
Photograph: Courtesy The Aubrey

Devender Kumar, beverage manager, The Aubrey 

Favourite cocktail: Ancho Highball (salted plum, ocho blanco, and ancho, topped with house granny smith apple soda)

Order it from: Coa (Central) 

"My favourite bar is Coa and the drink that I love there is Ancho Highball. Ancho highball is delicious! I love when people use aggressive flavours in the gentlest way. If you haven't tried it, you must! It is a cocktail that you can drink any time of the day – refreshing, sophisticated, flavourful, and heart-warming. A complete all-rounder! I have been to Coa from day one and have seen Jay and the team grow. He took a chance and believed in his passion, and became a guiding force for agave spirits in Asia. He not only wanted to run a bar but also educate people. Going to Coa is always fun as you are served great drinks, and at the same time, you can learn a thing or two by the time you leave." 

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