Adventures in Alcohol

The Summer Barrel cocktail is a punchy little number

Drink’s creator, Ondrej Pospichal at Le Port Parfumé in Sheung Wan, riffs on a nautical theme to create a cocktail that's essentially a punch

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 July, 2015, 2:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 July, 2015, 2:30pm

There’s a bit of lateral thinking going on at Le Port Parfumé in Sheung Wan. The bistro’s name is French for the fragrant harbour, our own dear Hong Kong. Where many another establishment would run with the idea of fragrance by adding some jasmine tea to their cocktail or a favourite Hong Kong fruit such as lychee, this venue has riffed on the word port. Hence we have the Summer Barrel cocktail (HK$100).

The base of the drink is a white port. Next comes a London gin because London is also a port city. The Italian white vermouth and the French curaçao represent the international trade seen in a port city. The drink is topped up with prosecco, long associated with the port city of Venice. A spritz of absinthe is added at the end for fragrance, but I found this barely noticeable and would happily skip it.

The drink’s creator, Ondrej Pospichal, didn’t go as far as to suggest putting a girl in the drink because there should be one in every port.

Pospichal says that this is basically a punch, so the drink will be made in a small barrel to be served tableside from a trolley.

The garnish is a thin strip of rolled-up cucumber, but you could use an olive if that sounds too fiddly to make at home. As Pospichal says, it would be “quite robotic” to use the same garnish every time for every drink.

The predominant flavour is produced by the melding of the slight nuttiness of the white port with the sourness of the vermouth. To borrow some wine terminology, the gin gives the drink its structure and it has great length of flavour.

It’s available until the end of September, at which point the venue is likely to make a different version with a whisky and red vermouth base.


How to make the Summer Barrel cocktail at home


20ml white port (non vintage)

20ml Ford’s gin (any London gin will work)

20ml dry vermouth

5ml orange curaçao


Cucumber or olive garnish

Spritz of absinthe (optional)


Put plenty of ice in a beaker, add the first four ingredients and stir. Strain into a coupe, top up with the prosecco and add the garnish. Spritz if so desired.