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argo negroni
Photograph: Courtesy Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong

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

Tatum Ancheta
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Tatum Ancheta
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So, you're deliberately skipping Valentine's Day 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; you're not alone. 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

Negroni
Photograph: Courtesy Caprice Bar/Kensey Tsang

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 the 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, 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. If you want to take away bottled versions, make sure to ask the bar so you can take it home. One of our favourite Negroni riffs in HK is Tell Camellia's tea-infused Darjeeling Negroni, 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. But since they are closed right now, be sure to message them on FB, and they might be able to bottle it for you.  

For something indulgent, head over to Time Out Hong Kong's 2020 Best Bar, Caprice Bar, and taste their delicious Truffle Negroni 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. Their sister bar Argo is also serving up some yummy cocoa-aged Negroni called Single Origin Negroni, which is available for delivery from their e-shop ($850).  

For more Negroni recommendations, check out this list

Martini
Photograph: Courtesy Kyle & Bain

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. You can also try any of the martini cocktails at martini focused bar Kyle & Bain. Their K&B Martini, made with Plymouth Gin, Dry and Blanc Vermouth, and cider vinegar, is available to takeaway in a bottle. Wanna whip up a martini riff at home? Try Time Out's 2020 Bartender of the Year and Four Seasons Hong Kong's beverage manager Lorenzo Antinori's floral Single & Fabulous Martini recipe. 

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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 the hurts of the past but also what exactly it is that you are drinking for. Here's how to make this cocktail at home. 

Agave Spirit
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's online shop will cater to your Agave spirit imbibing needs. Included in the online shop's offering are bottled signature cocktails in 250ml bottles, which allows homebound drinkers to recreate Coa's bar experience.

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IPA craft beer
Golem Craft Beer I Photograph: Nicholas Wong

IPA craft beer

Yes, one of our single's Valentine's Day 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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