Situated on Hollywood Road in Central, Hong Kong sits one of the best cocktail bars in Asia, Quinary. This establishment, inspired by molecular gastronomy restaurant El Bulli, specialises in a very interesting type of cocktail, multisensory mixology. The cocktails here have garnered many accolades including continually placing in the World’s 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars, you can understand why it’s a must visit whenever you visit Hong Kong. From their bubble tea inspired Earl Grey Caviar Martini to their Lavender Meringue Pie, each drink comes across more like a gastronomical journey than anything else.
As you enter you are greeted by a leather-bound seating area which opens up to its long bar with a wide selection of alcohol complete with bar stools and couches. The bar also comes complete with an assortment of trinkets and tools used for the molecular mixology process, including a rotary evaporator for redistilling wasabi vodka for the Quinary Bloody Mary, a centrifuge for creating a clean and crisp grapefruit juice for the Crystal 10 cocktail, and the caviar box for Antonio’s signature Earl Grey Caviar Martini.
Quinary is headed by Antonio Lai, one of the pioneers in the molecular mixology scene in Hong Kong which he has aptly named Multisensory Mixology. With close to 21 years’ experience in the bar industry, Quinary was founded nearly 7 years ago establishing one of the oldest molecular cocktail bars in the Asia. When asked what the philosophy behind Quinary is, Lai stated: –
“Quinary comes from the word latin word for 5, which refers to the 5 senses of taste, touch, scent, sound and sight. I believe a drink has to taste good above everything else. That must come first. Only then the rest can follow. We have placed in Asia’s 50 Best Bars for 5 years now. When it comes to cocktails, you can only cheat so much, if you only taste good or look good, it’s not enough, it has to be both. We sell an experience here, not drinks. We make drinks that you can see, smell and taste. I’ve always believed in making things better through innovation. Like how you can combine various things to make it better. We take inspiration from cuisine, for example, our Early Grey Caviar Martini is an homage to the pearl milk tea. Our Lavender Meringue Pie is inspired from the lemon meringue pie, with a heavy use of limoncello for the lemon aspect.” — Antonio Lai, Bar Owner of Quinary Hong Kong.
Quinary Multisensory Mixology Menu
Quinary has an extensive list of cocktails, all built around the concept of multisensory mixology, with most of the drinks tasting like food more than drinks. The menu ranges from a wide range of classics with an interesting twist. You can see more of the drinks available from their Quinary Menu, but here are some of the highlights.
Earl Grey Caviar Martini
One of Quinary’s signature drink would be their Earl Grey Caviar Martini, a mixture of sweet and sour consisting of Cointreau, Ketel One Citroen vodka, elderflower syrup, apple, lime and lemon juice, topped with earl grey caviar and air. Each sip of the martini is full of sweet and sour from the elderflower and Cointreau, and is filled with the aroma from the bittersweet earl grey foam. The pearls burst in your mouth releasing more flavour with a slight crunch, reminiscent of having bubble tea.
“The flavour of the earl grey tea is not found in the drink itself at all, but comes from the foam and the caviar itself. This is our bestseller, which we sell about 1000 glasses every month.”
Lavender Meringue Pie
Another of their signature drink would be their Lavender Meringue Pie made from limoncello and lavender redistilled Tanqueray gin. The drink is garnished with a generous topping of sweet charred marshmallow foam giving a nice hint of umami. This drink is more of a dessert than a cocktail, and is the essence of a lemon meringue pie in a glass. This drink comes highly recommended and is as fun as it looks.
Oolong Tea Collins
The Oolong Tea Collins is made using a homemade oolong tea cordial, featuring black plum, haw flakes and osmanthus, topped up with a generous helping of soda water. This cocktail was inspired by the ginseng oolong tea of Taiwan, and features a nice refreshing sweet and effervescent undertone. A highly recommended drink to start your night.
The Quinary Sours is a play on the traditional whiskey sour, with liquorice root and Chinese black sugar for a fuller flavour. The cocktail had a nice pronounced balance of slight bitter astringency from the liquorice root and a dark sweetness from the black sugar, almost like molasses. A drink that should be enjoyed on the rocks.
The Quinary Experience
Quinary is arguably one of the best cocktail bars you can come across, not only in Hong Kong but in the world. With their clever concoctions and warm bar appeal, it really as an experience you that makes you feel like you’re dining more than you’re drinking. Another mixologist of note would be Toby Lo, who’s off the menu concoctions deserve its own ample attention. This just illustrated how much thought goes into their concept and philosophy. When asked about what experience Quinary is trying to deliver to its patrons, Lai quipped: –
“We do not sell drinks at Quinary, we sell experiences. Our drinks are served with a biodegradable straw (which is more expensive), as we felt paper straws were not suitable as they break down too quickly and also leaves an aftertaste. We also want our bar patrons to have fun when they come here. That’s why we make our drinks playful. When people ask me how they’re supposed to drink the very highly foamed Earl Grey Caviar Martini, I always say lick the bubbles first, then suck it. We want everyone who comes here to have a good and fun experience.”
You can see why Quinary has won countless awards including placing in one of the World’s 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars respectively, even winning The Bar Awards in for Best Cocktail Bar of the Year and Most Creative Cocktail Programme. So, if you’re ever in the region, this is a must visit, no question.
For more information about Hong Kong, see our Travel Guide: Things To Do In Hong Kong.
G/F, 56-58 Hollywood Road,
+852 2851 3223
5.00 pm to 1.00 am;
| PHOTOGRAPHY BY: QUINARY | WEBSITE: QUINARY |