Header image courtesy of Tell Camelia (via Facebook)
Fit for any occasion, tea is a deliciously versatile beverage that undoubtedly rates high on the list of Hong Kong’s favourite drinks. Enjoyed as a sweet treat laced with chewy pearls, or sipped neat as a complement to Sunday dim sum, there is always a way to incorporate a comforting cuppa into your everyday living. For an option that bursts in with an extra-special kick, why not go for tea mixed into a cocktail?
An ode to the Camelia sinesis, the forbearing bush plant of tea, this gorgeous understated space brilliantly transforms the concept of a teahouse into a modern cocktail bar. Helmed by the veteran duo of Sandeep Hathiramani and Gagan Gurung, their delightful “tea-tails” and tea and tonics push forward a completely novel way to experience the best of brewed leaves and alcoholic libations.
A nod to the top tea-producing countries in the world, Tell Camelia’s main menu structures each drink around the signature flavours of each place, like the Ceylon-based Sri Lanka ($95), replete with hints of coconut and basmati rice, as well as a kick from rye whiskey. For an impressive tea and tonic, opt for the refreshing Kyoho grape and sakura ($100), which showcases a gin-spiked, doubly distilled creation.
Tell Camellia, H Code, LG/F, 45 Pottinger Street, Central | (+852) 6038 4020
Having cemented its place as one of the most pivotal in the global tea game, historic tea purveyor Fortnum & Mason brought their tercentenary-long expertise to the Victoria Dockside in the form of a stunning tea room. Offering jaw-dropping views of Victoria Harbour, there is no better place to soak in the beautiful aromas of handcrafted mocktails blended using top-tier leaves—with a plethora of spirits available for a cheeky add-on.
181 Hong Kong’s menu is excitingly varied and presents everything from nineteenth-century rickey highballs to luscious ice cream and yoghurt floats accented with a splash of alcohol. The tea-focused Little Rascal ($138) elevates black tea with peach by folding in wild berry frozen yoghurt and Black Cow vodka. Despite not containing alcohol, sparkling tea options like the effervescent Rub of the Green ($128) with apple black tea come in strong, and brilliantly showcases Fortnum & Mason’s signature blends in a lighter manner.
181 Hong Kong, Shop 022, K11 Atelier, Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 3916 8181
An award-winning cocktail lounge, Quinary prides itself on an elevated drinking experience that encompasses all the senses, tickling your taste buds whilst incorporating heightened fragrances and intriguing textures. Inspired by local Cantonese fare, Quinary’s menu pulls focus from familiar facets of Hong Kong cuisine and transplants them into a variety of entrancing concoctions. Explore tea through a whole new perspective by delving into their best-selling Earl Grey caviar martini ($140), served under a pillow of foam flavoured with Earl Grey tea and dotted with bubbles of Earl Grey jellies.
Quinary, 56–58 Hollywood Road, Central | (+852) 2851 3223
Straight out of Taipei, Draft Land was transplanted to the heart of the city by internationally renowned mixologist Antonio Lai, bringing with them a range of over 40 cocktails, with up to 24 types available daily. Using innovative N2 and CO2 injection tech to capture prefab mixes on tap, Draft Land has expertly merged together sure-fire combinations guaranteed to tickle your fancy. Drawing from uniquely Hong Kong influences, their oolong tea Collins ($100) spotlights the acerbic fragrance of this traditional tea choice, whilst their delicate chrysanthemum martini ($120) exhibits the flawless bloom within the notes of the tea.
Draft Land, 63 Wyndham Street, Central | (+852) 2711 8809
Step into the neon glow of this well-loved space and encounter an incredibly multi-faceted menu of creative cocktails that showcase a nostalgic reverence for classic Hong Kong flavours. Centred around chef May Chow’s immense love for local food, these commonplace comfort flavours have undergone a metamorphosis to emerge as a selection of well-bodied elixirs. Happy Paradise’s incredible Hong Kong lemon tea ($98) is the tea-focused cocktail of the hour, reinventing the one and only beloved Vita lemon tea into a vodka-spiked bevvy.
Happy Paradise, UG/F, 52–56 Staunton Street, Central | (+852) 2816 2118
A stark contrast against the modern and stripped-down shopfronts along Peel Street, the anachronistic ancient Chinese-inspired façade stands under a humorous sign crafted from repurposed woks, signalling to the entryway of izakaya joint Chi Chi Cham. In that same vein, their line of contemporary tea cocktails is East Asian-themed. Highlights include The Buddha Zen ($130) with quality oolong tea blend and its derivative syrup, as well as the Ocha Kudasai ($120) with house-special green tea syrup.
Chi Chi Cham, 53 Peel Street, Soho, Central | (+852) 2386 9718