Bitters & Sweets is the latest addition to Hong Kong’s expanding craft cocktail scene. With award-winning bars dotting practically every corner of the CBD, it’s in good company. Taking up space in Somptueux Central, Bitters & Sweets is seeking to lure customers away from Honi Honi, also in the same building.
The cocktail lounge is decked out in the contemporary craze for retro decor, dominated by tasteful teals, mint greens and greys. Floor to ceiling windows overlook Wellington Street, however it’s not about the view, it’s about the adventurous drinks.
Obvious from the name, the bar’s main focus are its homemade bitters and desserts. Without further adieu we start with a marmalade ($150), a concoction of cognac, Earl Grey, vanilla and orange marmalade and orange bitters, and order some s’mores ($90) to nibble on. The drink comes served in a charming, dainty jar, and the strong alcoholic punch of the cognac is mellowed by the citrusy marmalade. The bitters round out the flavour and though we detect no Earl Grey, we enjoy the cocktail nonetheless.
Golden brown, the s’mores arrive in a skillet. We dip the graham crackers into the toasted marshmallows, which give way to an extremely rich and decadent chocolate. The crackers are slightly flimsy, but this minor issue doesn’t stop us from demolishing the sinfully indulgent dessert.
Next up, we opt for a Night Quil ($180), which involves a table-side presentation. A syphon coffee maker is placed on our table, filled with Iron Buddha tea, lemon and orange rinds, vanilla pods and mint and thyme sprigs. A pool of citrus juice and gin is warmed at the bottom for infusion via the ingredients above. The process isn’t as complete as with coffee, but the end result is still a fierce hot toddy with a bite. The zesty oolong tea is diversified in flavour by the subtle hints of the thyme and cinnamon. A happily warming experience, the Night Quil evokes pleasant memories of Christmas past.
Bitters & Sweets is already well on it’s way to becoming a popular hangout, successfully tapping into the psyche of a city that’s becoming increasingly passionate about good cocktails and loves its desserts. We’re already fairly confident it’s of a high enough calibre to make the cut on big awards lists and that it could garner some accolades. Holly Graham
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52-54 Wellington St