Sha Tin Pomelotini
The Hyatt Regency Hotel looks out over Hong Kong's Tolo Harbour on one side and Kau To Shan's mountain peaks on the other. For years, plantation workers, when taking a break from harvesting the plump yellowish-green citrus fruit they call a pomelo, might have taken a breath, squinted at the sun and peered at the same glinting waters and velvet greenery.
Sha Tin, where the hotel is located, is a famous long-time producer of the tangy, sweet pomelo, a fruit that packs the same kind of zesty punch as the grapefruit, with a sweeter edge and on a far larger scale. (One hand might safely cup a grapefruit, but two are most definitely needed to grasp a decently ripened pomelo). The fruit's light yellow and sometimes pink-hued flesh has brought refreshment in summer's throbbing heat to people all over Southeast Asia, where it is also a popular treat.
For all that is pleasurable about eating a pomelo, peeling one is not. Thick, tough skin and bitter pith make getting at the citrus a tricky job. It's a natural choice, then, when at the Hyatt, to mark both a sense of occasion and historic culture by sampling some pomelo, and it's all the better that someone else will have sloughed off its skin and released the fruit.
To truly unwind at the end of the day, we settle on a stool at the hotel's Tin Tin Bar and order up a pomelotini.
'In Cantonese, pomelo translates as 'Sha Tin grapefruit', which inspired us to use it as a major ingredient in our signature cocktails,' says Kelvin Kan, the bar's manager, as he takes vodka and grapefruit juice and injects some bartending wizardry via some thick, golden citron honey. Next comes the pomelo. 'Mixing fresh pomelo with strong alcoholic drinks like martinis gives them a pleasant, refreshing taste that everyone will enjoy, and it also adds a local touch,' says Kan, shaking the mixture with ice.
He slides over the pretty drink, which looks to be the same bright lemon hue as the sun dipping behind the sea. An updated classic, with a real sense of place.
Sha Tin pomelotini
Citron vodka, 36ml
Grapefruit juice, 36ml
Tea citron honey, 3 teaspoons
Fresh pomelo, one piece
Muddle the pomelo, shake ingredients well with ice and strain into a glass.