Experience Multisensory Mixology and Cocktails at Quinary Bar in Hong Kong
Hong Kong may be but a few sips and steps behind trailblazing tipplers from other high octane cocktail corners of the world, but there are a few madmen in the mixology scene that are seriously raising their local bars.
Antonio Lai is one of those liquid luminaries setting the bars ablaze in Hong Kong. It's hard to believe his long list of culinary and cocktail credentials as the youthful and exuberant Lai barely looks old enough to drink himself. With a good 15 years of work in tip-top restaurants and bars, Lai seriously hit his spirted stride once he implemented a molecular approach in to his mixology.
Quinary Bar in Hong Kong was influenced by the molecular movement and has taken a definitive a page out of food pioneer Ferran Ardia's El Bulli book. Inspired by Ferran's iconic approach to his cuisine, Quinary's Lai has set out in a similar fashion to challenge and tantalize the taste buds of his guests with his irreverent and scientific take on mixology.
However, do note that Lai does not want to be limited nor put in to the molecular box. Lai's approach to his cocktails at Quinary Bar is what he calls multi-sensory mixology, a sensory driven approach to his drinks as he sets out to engage all five senses with his cocktail concoctions.
Enough with the method and madness. let's get down to some tippling. Set in the Central District of Hong Kong on Hollywood Road, you are hard pressed to get a table. Good luck as the place is chock a block every night of the week. Rest assured, if squeezed in up at the bar, you can at least get a first hand look at the mixology madness and you may even be privy to a wee bit of Lai's takes on his tippling.
You will see that the Quinary's long bar extends to Lai's lab showcasing his rotary evaporator, which he re-distills his own wasabi vodka for the Quinary Bloody Mary. For those that love a kick in a cocktail, it is really good on it's own as well and even begs to be layered on top of some fresh sashimi. One can dream...
In the lab Lai has a centrifuge to create a cleaner crisp grapefruit juice for his Crystal 24 cocktail and of course the caviar box for Lai’s signature Earl Grey Caviar Martini, a Hong Kong favorite.
Other sigantures are his Oolong Tea Collins, which is slow cooked with a home made Oolong tea cordial, with Absolut vodka and soda on the rocks. The Quinary Sour is his twist on the traditional whisky sour with licorice root and Chinese black sugar for a more fuller flavor and the Crystal 24 is where centrifuge gets put to good use as he uses it to clarify the grapefruit juice. Made along with B24 gin and carbonated with the Perlini shaker, it is finished with a dash of grapefruit bitters.
Okay, we are just getting started, so eyes up and out for a good seat. The Quinary Bloody Mary is made with his re-distilled Absolut wasabi vodka using the rotary evaporator, his homemade Bloody Mary mix, tomato juice and spiced up with a proverbial Hong Kong kick.
Not one to miss a movement, he is right in step with the barrel aged movement. Lai offers a six-month barrel aged Manhattan aged for six months in a ex-bourbon barrel with Chivas 12 years, made with their house blended rosso and topped with a house marinated cherry.
If you have not been brought to you travel knees yet, perhaps the iconic Earl Grey Caviar Martini, Quinary's best seller may be just the tippling ticket for you. It is made with Cointreau, Absolut vodka, elderflower syrup and topped with earl grey caviar and air. At this point you may very well be floating on air. So, who needs that seat anyway? Cheers!
Quinary Bar, 56-58 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong