Happy hours with homies

It may be a while before we can go back to the bars, so it’s time to bring the party back home.

Neighbor favorite bar The Diplomat is now offering takeaway versions of its cocktails until 9pm Mondays to Saturdays. Each cocktail comes packed in an individual wax-sealed bottle of four servings.

Pandan gin, white port, baking spice, clarified orange juice and coconut juice are used to create the Tarling (HK$500), which cleverly mimics the rich, nutty profile of chocolate by combining the Asian specialties of pandan and coconut.

Boulevardier (HK$600), a cocktail with origins in Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, features a classic combination of Wild Turkey rye, bourbon, Punt e Mes vermouth and Campari bitters. One of its latest cocktail creations, the Blinker Highball (HK$600), is a fruity and balanced mix of bonded raspberry rye, Austrian bitters, unripe grapes, celery and grapefruit soda.

But if you want something more classic, you can break the boredom of quarantine by trying to make one yourself.

A refreshing Negroni is perfect for this heat. Add 30 ml each of of gin, vermouth and Campari into a mixing glass with ice, stir, then strain into a glass filled with large ice cubes. Garnish with an orange slice.

A regular gin and tonic is the easiest and fastest cocktail to whip up at home. Chill the gin and glass in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before filling the glass with large cubes of ice. Pour in the gin and stir around the edge before topping up with tonic water. Finally, garnish with a lime wedge. A ratio of one part gin to three parts tonic is recommended.

If you opt for a floral tasting gin, try the Five Flowers Tea Dry Gin (HK$600), a project of Hong Kong’s first local craft gin distillery, Two Moons, and Room 309 at Central.

Inspired by an age-old Hong Kong herbal remedy, the gin combines the classic blend of Two Moon’s Signature Dry Gin of 12 different botanicals. The gin, available in 700ml bottles, can be bought at the store or ordered for delivery at http://www.room309.hk/shop.

Another unusual cocktail base is Fortnum & Mason’s Cold Brew Tea Liqueur (HK$568), the first of its kind in the world.

Distilled in traditional copper pot stills at Conker Spirit Distillery in Dorset and blended with Fortnum’s signature Countess Grey black tea, the resulting liqueur with its bergamot and orange notes is best enjoyed in a champagne cocktail, served long with soda and a peach wedge, or over ice for an after-dinner tipple at home.

At wine and spirits retailer Metabev’s online store, 15 cocktails DIY kits, including Gin & Tonic (HK$465), Negroni (HK$825), Hwayo Negroni (HK$869) and Old Fashion (HK$545) are available.

Each kit contains full bottles of spirits that are needed, some with different spirit options.

Metabev has also launched its Laiba Bar in Bottle Hong Kong Collection Set (HK$599).

The six artisanal cocktails in 90ml bottles are are crafted and inspired by Asia’s leading bartenders in Hong Kong. Allow seven days of production lead time. A part of the proceeds of all sales will go back to support the featured individuals and their bars.

Cocktails include Caffeinated Rosita by Jay Khan from COA, a riff of the classic La Rosita and a tequila-based cousin of the Negroni, and Boulevardier by Devender Sehgal from 8 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, a drink native to America, with an added twist of coconut oil.

All you have to do is add ice into the glass, shake and pour the cocktail, then garnish.

With just three simple steps, you can enjoy cocktails with the quality and consistency of a professional mixologist, but in the comfort of your own home.

(This article was published at The Standard on August 7, 2020: Weekend Glitz: Happy hours with homies )

200807 Happy hour with homies

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