Get us in your inbox

Search
Elixir
Photograph: @Mitchlui

Where to get the best espresso tonics in Hong Kong

Meet E&T, the PG-13 cousin of the classic G&T

Written by
Time Out Hong Kong
Advertising

It turns out that tonic doesn’t only go with gin. You can have it in your coffee for that extra effervescent kick too. Plus, with summer fading away, a refreshing espresso tonic can help combat those sudden heat waves and stuffy days back in the office. While the combo of bubbles and coffee might not sound as striking as, say, the avolatte, a good espresso tonic is more than just putting two and two together. It is about balance and finding the right match for each type of bean and the corresponding tonic. A dark espresso added to tonic will also create that utterly satisfying and Insta-worthy layering effect, making coffee breaks even better. So, without further ado, let’s dive into ten hotspots in Hong Kong where you can find the best E&Ts. By Elaine Wong

RECOMMENDED: Still prefer an alcoholic edge to your coffee? Try the signature martinis at Doubleshot by Cupping Room, or Winstons Coffee. Also, check out this list of cafes that transform into bars for the best of both worlds.

Where to get the best espresso tonics in Hong Kong

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Central

A newcomer to Central is Mono Lab, a cafe specialising in bagels, coffee, and shisha. You can customise your espresso tonic ($60) and choose from three different kinds of single-origin espresso beans and four types of tonic water. They recommend first-timers to go for the Nordic tonic water for a balanced drink, while those who prefer more delicate flavours can order the elderflower tonic to pair with Ethiopian Guji Dasaya beans, which lend citrus and floral notes.

In contrast to how tonic water is used to accentuate the taste of espresso in the E&T, Mono Lab aims to transform the profile of their Okinawan cold brew by using Indian tonic for their cold brew tonic ($78). Instead of the usual nutty and wine-like tones in their cold brew, you can anticipate hints of malt and cider in this bubbly version.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • West Kowloon

Boasting a smoother, less foamy espresso tonic ($50 and up) than other cafes, Rest Coffee Gin focuses on the texture of the beverage, and how individual elements work together to maintain balance. The fact that they turn into a gin bar in the evening also suggests that they will have good knowledge over an array of tonic waters. For those who prefer fruitier flavours, the shop recommends the elderflower tonic with a single origin espresso using beans from Kenya, as it exudes an addictive sweetness and tanginess akin to that of white grape juice.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Coffeeshops
  • Central

New additions to the menu at The Cupping Room include the New Orleans-style iced coffee ($45), Coco Chanel ($50), and the only lactose-free option on the list – the house espresso tonic ($50). The coffee shop uses the Attaboy seasonal blend for the base, which consists of beans from Colombia and Ethiopia. As a result, even after it has been mixed with tonic water, subtle tones of chocolate, citrus fruits, and blackberries from the espresso remain.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Wan Chai

Head to Omotesando Koffee if you want an espresso tonic with a zesty difference. The Summer Fizz ($60) is the ideal relief and still relevant for the sweltering heat in Hong Kong. Made with Korean citron marmalade to boost the fruitiness in the tonic water and espresso, this E&T uses a house blend consisting of beans from Uganda, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Colombia, so you can expect it to lean towards the citrusy side, with nutty undertones from the Ugandan and Brazilian beans in the mix.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Sheung Wan

Elixir’s Tonic Espresso ($45) is the remedy for all ills. Opting for a Colombian and Ethiopian blend to go with tonic water, the drink is zesty, fruity, and refreshing on the palate. No wonder this is one of the most popular items on their menu. Sip on a glass of this happy potion while perching on the steps outside the store on a sunny day, and you’ve got yourself a pretty blissful break.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Sham Shui Po

One of the newest and best Korean cafes in Hong Kong, Kactus Koffee features a range of food and beverages inspired by the trends in South Korea. Aside from the Einspanner (from $50), the yuzu tonic americano ($45) is also a crowd favourite. Coffee balances out the sweetness in the generous amounts of tonic and Korean citron marmalade, making this drink both zesty and invigorating, which is particularly suitable for those who are new to coffee-drinking.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Prince Edward

Fitting right in with the coolest neighbourhood in Hong Kong, Slash is a new addition to the ever-expanding pool of cafes in Sham Shui Po. Apart from speciality coffees made with a variety of single-origin beans, Slash offers the espresso tonic ($50) and cold brew fizz ($50). Although both use Indian tonic, the resulting flavours are very different: the former bears a strong fruitiness from the coffee beans (a blend of beans sourced from five countries) and some floral notes, while the latter emits a nutty aroma with hints of citrus. Also, if you’re feeling peckish, their homemade financiers and peanut butter cookies will be the best bet.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Mong Kok

Knockbox has been the go-to for many coffee enthusiasts with their top-level coffee and champion baristas. But besides their collection of crafted coffees and scrumptious cocoa bean-shaped waffles, maybe it’s time to give their KB Tonic ($50) a try. With a cloud of Ethiopian espresso suspended over the clear tonic water, you’ll be in for a photogenic and delectable treat.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Kowloon City

HeySoNuts has been one of To Kwa Wan’s best-loved eateries thanks to its speciality coffee, Western cuisine, and contemporary French desserts. To pair with their signature souffle pancakes, order the coffee tonic ($48), which contains a splash of orange liqueur along with the usual ingredients – cheeky! Due to the popularity of HeySoNuts, the masterminds behind it have also set up the retro WoZi Cafe in San Po Kong, as well as the new black-and-white themed Black Coffee in Mong Kok. With similar menus but distinct themes and vibes, so make sure to check them out too.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Central

Having just opened its first branch on the Island, Black Sugar continues to impress with their consistent food and coffee items. Their house blend is a mixture of two types of beans from Ethiopia, plus one from Colombia; add that into a glass of elderflower tonic, and you’ll get caffe tonic ($55) which is extra fruity and tangy, with mellow undertones from the Colombian beans.



Still need to get your caffeine fix? Check out the below!

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising