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The Industry Asia's 50 Best Bars 2021 and Their Signature Cocktails to Try

Asia's 50 Best Bars 2021 and Their Signature Cocktails to Try

Asia's 50 Best Bars 2021 and Their Signature Cocktails to Try
Cocktails at Hong Kong's Darkside (Photo: Courtesy of Rosewood Hong Kong)
By Tatler Dining
May 07, 2021
Now that we know who made this year's list, here are the cocktails to toast them with. Let your eyes drink up the beautiful libations that helped the best bars in Asia win a place on the roster this year

50. Star Bar (Tokyo, Japan)

The Ninja Ice is a key attraction at the storied Ginza cocktail establishment, Star Bar. Cut with unparalleled precision by a machine, the ice all but disappears in a drink, thus giving it the name.

49. Sago House (Singapore)

With a weekly-changing cocktail menu, Sago House keeps things fresh with libations such as Misty Mountains, combining Seven Tails XO brandy, Wild Turkey rye, Cameron Highlands tea, sweet potato, honey, and Angostura bitters.

48. Teens of Thailand (Bangkok, Thailand)

Among its range of unusual G&Ts, Teens of Thailand adds a distinctly local twist to the classic two-ingredient drink with the Thai Tea Gin & Tonic, infusing Thai tea into the base spirit.

47. Three X Co (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

This Kuala Lumpur bar's twist on the classic Jungle Bird cocktail, the Burung Malaya, involves Plantation Dark Rum, homemade Guinness amaro, ananas, lemon and honey.

46. Vesper (Bangkok, Thailand)

Named after James Bond's martini of choice, it would be amiss for patrons of Vesper not to try one of the bar's creative martinis with a twist.

45. MO Bar (Singapore)

The Sarimanok––with rum, mango and citrus. Have you ever seen a cocktail so pretty?

44. Le Chamber (Seoul, South Korea)

A tribute to Korea's native ginseng, the Ginseng Martini at Le Chamber involves soju that has been macerated with the medicinal root for six months.

43. Bar Trench (Tokyo, Japan)

In a nod to Bar Trench's original location on the 11th floor of a building, this drink combines the bar team's favourites of rum, herb liqueur, Kina liqueur, absinthe and bitters.

42. The Old Man (Singapore)

Don’t be put off by the unusual mix of ingredients in The Old Man’s Death in the Afternoon––absinthe, cinzano Prosecco, coco-pandan yogurt, froth and nutmeg come together beautifully in this tasty tipple.

41. Alice (Seoul, South Korea)

A Hippity Hoppity cocktail of Absolut Elyx vodka, elderflower and aloe vera in your hand means you've successfully ended up on the other side of Alice's rabbit hole.

40. Darkside (Hong Kong)

A hybrid of the martini and James Bond's Vesper cocktail, the Martini Vs Vesper at Hong Kong's own Darkside mixes Mancino Vermouth Secco and Mancino Vermouth Bianco for botanical complexity, while the peach bitters and Japanese wakamomo infuse a delectable fruitiness. ⁠

39. D.Bespoke (Singapore)

Try the traditional fruit spirit pálinka, which hails from Central Europe, in this intriguing cocktail from D.Bespoke, which sees plum pálinka, yuzu liqueur and fresh lemon juice combine in a cocktail reminiscent of a classic Sidecar.

38. The Curator (Manila, Philippines)

Thinking about heavy metal and progressive rock? The Coheed & Cambria may sound like both but its flavour is definitely on the bright side, primarily named for the beautiful irony of hardcore listening and musical curiosity while delighting this drink’s citrusy summer notes.

37. Junglebird (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

The namesake classic cocktail is not to be missed at Junglebird, where Diplomatico Mantuano, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice and sugar syrup combine in a clash of big, juicy flavours.

36. Tippling Club (Singapore)

Why not make the most of a martini at Tippling Club—specifically Lord Ryan’s Gin Martini, where the dry vermouth and Lord Ryan’s Prohibition gin concoction is served at a cool minus 7°C.

35. Backstage Cocktail Bar (Bangkok, Thailand)

This theatre-themed cocktail bar takes much of the inspiration for its menu from the big screen delivering clever concoctions like this Sherlock Holmes-inspired Poisoned Me featuring Scotch whisky, lapsang tea, Sichuan pepper, smoked honey, date, citrus and double spiced bitters.

34. Bar Cham (Seoul, South Korea)

Named after the city of Cheonan, this milk-clarified cocktail uses dureang (a Korean grape spirit) as its base, combined with Nocino liqueur, lime juice, oloroso sherry, absinthe, walnut bitters, and soda.

33. Union Brasserie, Bakery & Bar (Jakarta, Indonesia)

The imaginative Pops G&T marries local flavours with attention-grabbing presentation, utilising Kaja Gin, tonic water, cempedak fruit and a butterfly pea popsicle.

32. Speak Low (Shanghai, China)

Speak Low's Shanghai Cobbler is one of the bar's special signature cocktails, bringing distinctive Chinese ingredients to drinkers in this sweet and sour libation

31. Union Trading Company (Shanghai, China)

Synthesising a global range of ingredients with an age-old cocktail format, the Lychee Punch mixes London dry gin, Fijian lychee, French vermouth, and cider vinegar.

30. Penicillin (Hong Kong)

Named after the Scotch-based cocktail created by Sam Ross of New York bar Milk & Honey, Penicillin's interpretation of this modern classic adds a sustainable bent to the drink with apple skin whisky, turmeric sherbet, burnt milk, and homemade apple cider.

29. Barbary Coast (Singapore)

One of the most popular drinks at this Singaporean bar is the Tommy Tomate, a twist on the Tommy's Margarita involving Del Maguey Mezcal Vida⁠, tomato⁠, kaffir⁠, agave⁠, lime⁠ and saline⁠ solution.

Related: Rediscovering the Future of Singapore’s Dynamic Cocktail Scene

28. The Wise King (Hong Kong)

Named after 13th-century Spanish monarch Alfonso the Wise, The Wise King combines the worlds of mixology and tapas with the Jamón Old Fashioned, made using Ezra Brooks bourbon fat-washed in Iberico ham, cantaloupe syrup and walnut bitters. ⁠

27. Bar High Five (Tokyo, Japan)

One of Japan's most recognisable barmen, Hidetsugu Ueno specialises in classic cocktails such as the White Lady, a shaken drink of gin, Cointreau and lemon juice.

26. The Pontiac (Hong Kong)

Encapsulating its devil-may-care philosophy, The Pontiac's Hobnail combines Irish whiskey, ginger, Averna, bitters and orange oil for a hard-hitting yet delicious cocktail that can be enjoyed in multiples.

25. Quinary (Hong Kong)

Having remained on Quinary's menu since it opened in 2012, the Earl Grey Caviar Martini captures founder Antonio Lai's irreverent approach to mixology with its towering head of foam and float of earl grey caviar.

24. Aha Saloon (Taipei, Taiwan)

Dip the beeswax slip into this Foretell Paper (You are Hopeless) cocktail to read the hidden message. There's always something to surprise at Aha Saloon.

23. Tell Camellia (Hong Kong)

Tell Camellia's tea-focused cocktails are named after different countries. The Australia cocktail uses Yalangi rain tea, Tim Tams, clarified strawberry, blue cheese, koala munchies and whisky.

22. Tropic City (Bangkok, Thailand)

Tropic City does what its name suggests––bringing the tropical to mixology. With a focus on rum, one of its signature tipples is the Tropic Thunder, mixing jerk spice-infused Appleton Reserve rum, Plantation OFTD overproof rum, falernum, ginger, pineapple, lime, soda, Angostura bitters, Tropicopop and Chronic iced tea.

21. 28 Hongkong Street (Singapore)

The award-winning Whore’s Bath is one of 28 HongKong Street’s classics––and while it rarely reappears on the menu these days, the manuka honey vodka, Mathilde Poire, umeshu, lemon and Hawaiian lava salt pickled ginger concoction gives you a taste of the kind of creative cocktails to expect.

20. The Diplomat (Hong Kong)

Hailed as one of the best Gibsons in town, The Diplomat's version uses Tried & True vodka, fino sherry, blanc vermouth and a Japanese pickled shallot.

19. Room by Le Kief (Taipei, Taiwan)

Molecular gastronomy has moulded the menu here, where drinks are often paired with light bites, both of which change with the seasons.

18. Bee's Knees (Kyoto, Japan)

In a bar named after the cocktail, you can expect the Bee's Knees—a simple combination of gin, lemon juice and honey—to be a dependable choice.

17. Bar Mood (Taipei, Taiwan)

Bar Mood's Clouds Above The Silk Road features cucumber, Taiwanese basil and citronella combined with the herbal elements of Don Julio Blanco. Smoked marshmallow foam and nori seaweed sprinkles bring the drink to life.

16. Sidecar (New Delhi, India)

At a bar named Sidecar, you've got to have a Sidecar cocktail––especially when there are several iterations on the menu to choose from, each one offering something exceptional.

15. Hope & Sesame (Guangzhou, China)

Technique is top of the agenda at Hope & Sesame where cutting edge technologies contribute to uber-creative cocktails, such as these classics: the coconut-infused and salted Pandan Old Fashioned, the Salt & Vinegar Martini, the Cantonese Chicken Rice, the Kombucha Daiquiri and the white pepper-infused White Negroni.

14. Native (Singapore)

Native focuses on using regional produce from across Asia, including the spirits and other alcoholic bases it incorporates. Case in point: its Chasing the Dragon cocktail is gin-based, but also makes the most of Mukai Shuzo sake, a unique red-hued sake, so coloured because of the use of the ancient Murasaki strain of red rice, which is mixed with Kyoto rice strain of Iwai.

13. Charles H (Seoul, South Korea)

For devotees of the classic rye cocktail, the Manhattan Flight at Charles H offers the original formulation, alongside the Irish whisky-based Tipperary variation, and the Red Hook, which swaps the marasca cherry for maraschino.

12. Bar Trigona (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

At Bar Trigona it's all about sustainability with many of the establishment's cocktails focused on zero waste or seeking to support certain causes or give back. Drink for good at Bar Trigona.

11. The Bamboo Bar (Bangkok, Thailand)

Enjoy the tastes of Thailand with one of Bamboo Bar's sustainably-focused cocktails – they incorporate flavours from across the nation and are often accompanied by tunes from some of the capital's coolest musicians

10. Caprice Bar (Hong Kong)

Bar manager Lorenzo Antinori's propensity for theatrics inspired this ostentatious take on the classic Negroni, where a mix of Tanqueray Ten, sweet vermouth, Amer Picon and Campari is finished with 30 grams of black truffle shavings.

9. Bar Benfiddich (Tokyo, Japan)

The "farmers' bartender" Hiroyasu Kayama grows his own roots, herbs and botanicals for his drinks at Bar Benfiddich in Tokyo. With no menu, you never know what sort of libationary tipple you're in for, though his homemade absinthe made with homegrown botanicals is legendary.

8. No Sleep Club (Singapore)

Among the imaginative cocktails at No Sleep Club, the Hay & Apples stands out for its refreshing combo of fresh and toasted hay sous vide in scotch, which is then carbonated with fermented apples.

7. Atlas (Singapore)

Try the Baroque Pearl––where Scottish gin, mango, clarified milk and cucumber come together in a light and refreshing cocktail topped off with basil oil for a savoury twist

6. Manhattan (Singapore)

The classic Charlie Chaplin cocktail is reimagined at Singapore’s Manhattan bar to reflect Robert Downey Jr’s performance in the 1992 film Chaplin––both punchy and charismatic. This take incorporates persimmon-infused Remy Martin VSOP Cognac, house lime cordial, absinthe, Peychaud bitters and Sujeonggwa (a Korean cinnamon punch).

5. Sober Company (Shanghai, China)

Creative cocktails are always the name of the game at Sober Company in Shanghai.

4. Indulge Experimental Bistro (Taipei, Taiwan)

With a drinks list that highlights Taiwan's local produce, Aki Wang's cocktails taste as good as they look, like this one which features Suntory Roku Gin No. 1, Pouchong oolong tea, lotus root, ginger lily, peach and pear.

3. The SG Club (Tokyo, Japan)

The SG Club's take on the chawari, a drink made with shochu and tea, has become one of the bar's signature drinks, though the exact iteration changes regularly.

2. Jigger & Pony (Singapore)

Excelling at celebrating the classics, Jigger & Pony's Old Fashioned, with Bulleit Bourbon, demerara sugar and Angostura Bitters, perfectly preserves the past––the cocktail is thought to date to 1806.

1. COA (Hong Kong)

A riff on a classic, Coa's La Paloma de Oaxaca incorporates a mezcal-forward component to this tequila and grapefruit juice build, replete with a dusting of worm salt.

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The Industry asia's 50 best bars cocktails

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