Maybe it’s the intricate botanicals that effortlessly adorn the glasses or the voluminous, bubbly foam that sits atop your drinks that lures you into having a gin-infused cocktail––whichever the reason, when it comes to this classic combination and the spirit alone, the choices are endless.
In a city like Hong Kong, where almost every neighbourhood is home to a handful of quirky bars and restaurants, gin is difficult to miss out on. Even if it may not be up your alley, it’s still worth enjoying as you may never know with the various exciting creations, one may just cling onto your tastebuds, altering your opinion. Here’s our list of some of the best places to visit, either for the go-to classic G&T or an extravagant gin-based cocktail.
From the masterminds behind Quinary and Origin––Charlene Dawes and international mixologist Antonio Lai’s The Envoy, is their most opulent bar yet. As streams of inventive cocktails reveal themselves page after page—even including a spirit-free menu—the choice isn’t easy.
Enjoy light bites and your favoured cocktail on their terrace, overlooking Central's array of high-rise buildings. Witty names are prescribed to most cocktails, including the Pepper Potts with a pink peppercorn-redistilled gin, or Stranger Fruit with a coriander-redistilled gin.
The Envoy, 3/F, The Pottinger Hong Kong, 74 Queen's Road Central, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2169 3311, theenvoy.hk
Can't choose between a restaurant that boasts a city view or a harbour view? At Popinjays, which is nested on top of The Murray and boasts an unravelling a 270-degree city view, you can enjoy both. The spacious bar-and-restaurant welcomes guests through their private elevator––all while being able to take a sneak peek of diners through the glass window.
Their bar menu, including a ‘Gin & Tonic Experience’ section will offer you eight drinks, incorporating an array of international gins from places such as England, France and Germany––each drink is paired perfectly with a suggested tonic, from elderflower to Indian or Mediterranean. The finishing touches add flair in the form of crushed pink peppercorns or grapes.
Popinjays, 26/F, The Murray, 22 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong; +852 3141 8888, niccolohotels.com
Flavour and aromatic combinations is what Quinary is all about, with a menu covering a variety of drinks to challenge your preconception of cocktails. The long bar essentially acts as Antonio Lai’s experimental lab, showcasing gadgets such as a rotary evaporator and equipment used to redistill the bars’ own flavoured spirits.
Their gin drinks, hold mostly a botanical, aromatic or zesty base. Take their Cool Lagoon, with both an aromatic yet zesty quality. This potent cocktail is made with Iron Balls gin, muscat grape liqueur, pickled jalapeño syrup, to name a few components. For those seeking a more bubbly taste, Crystal 10 is the prime choice as clarified grapefruit juice is added in with Tanqueray No.10 gin, carbonated with a Perlini shaker. Finally, for finishers, dashes of grapefruit bitters hone in all the flavours.
Quinary, 56-58 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2851 3223, quinary.hk
Having been awarded the number one spot on the Asia's Best Bar list in 2019 and second place in 2020, The Old Man is a snug bar in Soho serving some of the most innovative cocktails in town. Inspired by the 1952 Ernest Hemingway novel about a Cuban fisherman and the biggest catch of his life, The Old Man is the first Hemingway-themed bar in the city, with a prominent Asian twist.
In homage to the American novelist himself, all drinks channel the same creative energy, making each beverage a one of a kind experience. One to try is A Day’s Wait, consisting of a roasted marshmallow gin, sorrel citrus, plum-watermelon koji and yarrow. And another is The Sun Also Rises, which is a copra fat-washed applejack, with rotovap fresh curry gin, sweet vermouth sous-vide pandan leaves and lime kafir. With more choices on the menu––it’s the mix of the atmosphere and flavours that encapsulate Hemingway’s spirit.
The Old Man, Lower G/F, 37-39 Aberdeen Street, Soho, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2703 1899, theoldmanhongkong.com
What previously was a ping pong parlour, is now a modish Sai Ying Pun sip-spot decorated with blazing neon red lights.
Serving up Spanish-style gin and tonics, Ping Pong Gintonería also houses international variations of gin stretching from Spain’s Pomada to Puerto de Santa Maria’s Bayswater, which is garnished impeccably by aromatics. In their fairly short, yet sweet ‘Gin & Tonic’ menu, the most popular as stated is their Master’s London, from Barcelona, Spain. With tastes of Q-Indian tonic, orange zest and juniper berries––this should be the perfect drink to start you off.
Ping Pong Gintonería, 129 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong; +852 9835 5061, pingpong129.com
Having opened in 2017, this small-scale yet atmospheric all-gin bar quickly made headlines by claiming its place at #48 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list. Camouflaged in a corner on the basement level of the Landmark, the parlour carries over 250 types of gin—one of the largest selections in the city. Just like its idiosyncratic exterior of a full-sized door acting as a miniature entrance, the parlours’ intentions are as eccentric. It’s fictionally about a physician, named Doctor Fern, whose love for nature has led him to open up a gin parlour where he is able to treat his patients’ ailments and stress-related symptoms (hence the happy reminders chalked onto blackboards around the parlour)
With such a vast variety to choose from––the menu is broken into sections with gin categories such as spicy & savoury, fruity & floral, junipery & citrusy for instance. Then, another boundless list of tonics is available, finalised with a list of bitters––it’s every gin lovers dream.
Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour, Shop B31A, First Basement Floor, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen's Road Central, +852 2111 9449, mingfathouse.com
Seeming like a small space sitting before the Lan Kwai Fong hill drop––is in fact a cosy, delicious ode to Indian cuisine. Upon arrival, a gin trolley meanders its way to your table, with a curated selection of gins in front of you.
May it be the classic such as Hendricks or not––New Punjab Club’s G&T menu features six different combinations to try, all grasping onto South Asian flavourings. Try out their Opihr spiced gin. It’s paired with lemon tonic water, Ancho Reyes Chile liqueur, coriander and red chilli––making this the ideal beverage to sip away at to further complement the piquant taste of the food.
New Punjab Club, World Wide Commercial Building, 34 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2368 1223, newpunjabclub.com
It’s the way the sun seeps into the restaurant during your weekend brunch––it’s also the scenic views of Victoria Harbour and the faultless Spanish cuisine. But one of the most delightful touches is their gin trolley, which keeps the essence of Barcelona’s food and drink culture alive here in Hong Kong.
Stocked with 30 types of gin and a selection of 10 artisanal tonics, the trolley means gin and tonics are crafted to order at your table, making for an unforgettable, uplifting meal. On the menu are only four choices of G&T’s, but as the trolley comes around––you’ll be left with a whirlwind of choices, with inventive garnishes and even more quality tonics.
La Rambla, 3071-3073, 3/F, ifc, 8 Finance Street, Central, Hong Kong; 2661 1161, larambla.hk
Origin, which was the first gin-focused bar in the city highlights the drinker’s experience as dozens of bottles from around the world make up the listicle-like menu. It’s a place for gin education, as pages ramble on identifying their gin specials––some representing flavours loved by the city such as a black sesame gin, with cucumber rose and slices with a naturally light tonic.
Their special selection on G&T twists features more than fifteen options of gins, to be mixed with a choice of seven different tonics. Others include comical names such as Charlie Chaplin––including Hayman’s sloe gin, apricot liqueur, simple syrup and lemon juice.
Origin, G/F, 48 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong; +852 2668 5583, originbar.hk
Created by British designer Tom Dixon––Alto's sleek colour palette of blacks and browns illuminates the modernity and chicness that is, Causeway Bay. Hosting both indoor and outdoor seating, the city’s iconic skyscraper view is the highlight. Apart from that, their extensive wine list, which includes cocktails too, equally deserves applause.
Take a sip of their Lavender Me, consisting of Tanqueray Gin, orgeat & lavender syrup, fresh pineapple juice and egg white. Or, Sweet Memory, with fresh apple juice, hibiscus water, lime juice, lychees and Bombay Saphire Gin. Fruity and refreshing drinks are at hand and act as the ultimate way to spend the commencing evening, with the sun setting in the background.
Alto Bar & Grill, 31/F, V Point, 18 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong; +852 2603 7181, sandshospitality.com
Barcelona chic bar and Asador-inspired restaurant, The Optimist provides nothing but an authentic Northern Spanish experience. Whilst your time there will be occupied by indulging in towers of fresh seafood, succulent meats and sharing platters––the one aspect that ties it all together are their Spanish-style G&T’s and hand-crafted cocktails. The menu, dedicated to over 20 gin and tonic variations bring out every drop of flavour present in each bottle. And, if you’re looking for something a bit different––cocktails made from infused gins are always on offer. Their Tarte Tatin (which can come non-alcoholic too) is sweet and tender, using Beefeater gin, licor 43, lemon juice, caramel and fresh apple juice.
The Optimist, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; +852 2433 3324, theoptimist.hk
Open fires and private cabanas underneath frangipani trees––picture yourself on an island, where time stands still. Hidden inside The Mira in Tsim Sha Tsui, Vibes considers an abundance of cocktails, with three of their signatures including gin. Using Beefeater Gin, expect only bursts in flavours as components such as Cartron Fruit Liqueurs, Domaine De Canton Liqueur and mixed berries whisk you away.
To the tropical-esque lounge, they also have a Gin & Tonic Revival night every Thursday from 6 pm onwards, with happy-hour prices all night. On top of this, Vibes is one of the very few spots in the city to offer Belgian Crazy Monday, a non-alcoholic alt-gin novelty distilled in Sweden with South African botanicals Ceder’s. And, from Barcelona––Gin Raw, a herbaceous brew. Enjoy the menu of exquisite cocktails––all with a selection of rare, artisanal gin sourced from Europe.
Vibes, 118-130 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon; Hong Kong +852 2315 5599, themirahotel.com
Originally from The Langham, London, the celebrated Artesian has found its way to Hong Kong, specialising in bourbon and gin.
Being the widest gin selection in all of Kowloon, there are 34 to choose from––which are thoughtfully paired with artisanal tonics and sophisticated garnishes. From G’Vine Floraison Gin in France to WA Premium Craft Gin in Japan, the menu also invites individuals to consider an even more premium gin, from Mexico titled Mezcal Pierde Almas +9 Botanicals. Gin-infused cocktails also take over the menu, with classic mixes of having lemon juice, cucumbers and fresh mint.
Artesian, The Langham Hong Kong, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 2132 7898, langhamhotels.com
Sat along West Kowloon’s Art Park, Rest Coffee Gin is a coffee shop by day and a bar by night, capturing the city’s bustling, eventful lifestyle. As soon as the sun sets, this place is a great place for evening cocktails as their bar is stocked with an impressive range of gins––with bottles even hanging from above, replicating the aesthetic of Christmas baubles.
Expect to find an international ensemble from Netherlands’ Rutte Jenever to Japan’s Juju craft gin but, there are also simple classics to enjoy as well such as a Gin Fizz, with lemon sugar and soda.
Rest Coffee Gin, Shop GF-04, G/F, Art Park, West Kowloon Cultural District, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong; +852 2697 8938