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Truffle Negroni, Caprice Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Caprice Bar/Kensey Tsang

What to drink to celebrate VDay for the singles and the bitters

Single, bitter? Here are our boozy recommendations to help you forget – or reward – your single-ness this Valentine's Day

By Tatum Ancheta
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So, you're deliberately skipping Valentine's for several reasons: you're single, you're bitter, just getting over a breakup, or you're just not up for all the cheesy pressure the love month has cast in the air. Don't worry; we got you. It’s time to celebrate with an anti-Valentine vibe with delicious cocktails in hand. 

Recommended: Still getting over a breakup and in need of a therapeutic crying sesh? Here’s a list of Cantonese breakup songs to blast on your earphones. Late for VDay but still need to celebrate with your boo? Check out our ultimate guide to celebrating Valentine's Day in Hong Kong. 

Drinks to celebrate VDay for the singles and the bitters

Tell Camellia Darjeeling Negroni CNY TA 19012020
Tell Camellia Darjeeling Negroni CNY TA 19012020
Tell Camellia's Darjeeling Negroni I Photograph: TA

Negroni

Not for the faint of heart or novices, this three-ingredient cocktail is simple to make but packs quite the punch. Just like love, it is sweet, bitter, and leaves a lasting impression. It is sharp upon first sip, just like the feelings of despair that weigh heavy on your chest, but the floral and herbal notes from the gin and vermouth also evoke sweet memories. An acquired taste it may well be, but once you get used to it, it'll keep you wanting more. 

For starters, try the tea-infused Darjeeling Negroni from Tell Camellia, it's exactly how a Negroni should be, but deeper as the dark tea taste lingers longer and complements the bittersweet notes of the cocktail. The Negroni twist at The Old Man is also something you can explore; however, we'd recommend The Sun Also Rises, not quite a Negroni but a bitter spirit-forward drink with copra fat-washed applejack, curry leaf-infused gin, sweet vermouth sous-vide pandan leaves, and lime kaffir. The Diplomat's mini Negroni is something to order as an aperitif, but their heavier Boulevardier is great for long sipping; made with a rye-bourbon blend, Campari, and Punt e Mes vermouth. For something indulgent, head over to Time Out Hong Kong's 2020 Best Bar, Caprice Bar, and taste their delicious Truffle Negroni ($220) made with gin infused with fresh Australian black winter truffle. It takes the prize for adding a nutty-earthy, savoury, and velvety complexity to the iconic Italian cocktail. 

Tuxedo #852 by The Diplomat 
Tuxedo #852 by The Diplomat 
The Diplomat's Tuxedo #852 I Photograph: TA

Martini

It is the most iconic cocktail and one you'd often find on bar menus. It is strong and straightforward; ordering a Martini is a serious business. Whether you are mustering up a little liquid courage to walk up and chat to that attractive person by the bar, or to drink alone, quietly and secretly smiling about VDay blues, a mixture of gin, dry vermouth, and olive can do the trick. And sorry, James Bond, we like to recommend drinking Martini stirred not shaken, because a diluted Martini is a bad Martini.  

Try Room 309's Deep Sea Martini, a redistilled Scotch-based Martini with Oolong tea and kombu tincture adding a saline note to the drink. For something moreish, head over to The Diplomat and grab a glass (or two, or more!) of Time Out's 2020 Best Cocktail, Tuxedo #852, a classic aromatic semi-dry Martini made with gin, dry vermouth, pear brandy, and maraschino liqueur, served in a mini size coupette and garnished with a tiny pear. If you're staying in, Time Out's 2020 Bartender of the Year and Caprice Bar's beverage manager Lorenzo Antinori crafted a floral Single & Fabulous Martini that you can quickly whip up at home.  

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French 75 

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This one is usually seen on holiday menus because of its fizzy quality, but it’s also appropriate to celebrate the death of V-day for another year. It is called a French 75 because it is a high-calibre drink, named after the French 75mm field gun used during World War I. The drink has gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. It is so strong that a few glasses of this bubbly will knock you out of your wits, and help you to forget not only hurts of the past, but also what exactly it is that you are drinking for.

Try getting a French 75 at Origin Bar or Vea and cheers to all things not Valentine's related. 

COA Ancho Highball Pepper Smash and La Chinescan TA Jan192020 IMG_2989
COA Ancho Highball Pepper Smash and La Chinescan TA Jan192020 IMG_2989
Coa's Ancho Highball, Pepper Smash, and La Chinescan I Photograph: TA

Agave Spirit

One of the most infamous and misunderstood spirits in the bar is tequila or any strong agave spirit like mezcal or sotol. People usually run away once shots are lined up by the bar. However, we urge you to be brave and dive in headfirst to enjoy this spirit as part of your VDay adventure. Contrary to how most people serve or drink tequila, we recommend not shooting it like there’s any tomorrow! Instead, take a sip and savour it, or enjoy it as a cocktail base, like a Margarita, Paloma, Rosita, and others.

Find these gems at any of the best tequila and mezcal bars in Hong Kong. If you're drinking at home, award-winning Mexican bar Coa launched their new online shop to cater to Hongkongers imbibing needs. Included in the online shop's offering is a flight of their signature cocktails in 250ml bottles – Coconut Milk Punch, Mezcal Negroni, Mezcal Martinez, and Agave Old Fashioned – which allows homebound drinkers to recreate Coa's bar experience.

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Golem Craft Beer
Golem Craft Beer
Golem Craft Beer I Photograph: Nicholas Wong

IPA craft beer

Yes, one of our single's Valentine's drink recommendations is not a carefully crafted cocktail or spirit but a good old beer, an IPA craft beer to be exact. Beer is a go-to heartbreak drink for some people as it's easy to drink, consistently dependable, and you can drink a few while you are crying your heart out. 

Often stronger with a higher alcohol content than lagers or wheat beers, IPA, or India pale ale, is a refreshing, hop-forward, fruity-bitter style beer. Hong Kong has a lot of IPA beer brewers in town, and it's up to you to take your pick from this list of the best craft beer bars in Hong Kong

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