Adventures in Alcohol

Holy Smoke - a zingy, fruity cocktail if ever there was one

You won't get the same dry ice effect as the Flint Bar & Grill manages if you make this at home, but that'll take nothing away from the drink itself

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 June, 2015, 2:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 June, 2015, 3:34pm

Queen Victoria, the rapacious old imperialist, is commemorated in hundreds of statues and place names for everything from state capitals to railway stations. Her likeness even appears on the label of Bombay Sapphire gin

It’s debatable whether she should be commemorated with a gin – she is said to have been partial to tincture of cannabis and a 19th century tonic of claret infused with cocaine.

Nonetheless, the gin is partly the inspiration for the Holy Smoke at Flint Grill & Bar at the JW Marriott hotel in Admiralty.

The bar’s crafted mixology cocktail list has eight classic drinks on it given a very modern twist. The Traveller, for example,  is essentially a very mellow Negroni, with a base of Buffalo Trace rye whiskey mixed with Campari and vermouth. It’s served in a small pop bottle – the bar ages some drinks in the bottle and some in small barrels.

Holy Smoke (HK$145) is a twist on a largely forgotten drink called the East India, bartender Bryson Rivera says. The original mixed gin, orange curacao, orange bitters and a raspberry shrub – a shrub here being an eighteenth century fruit syrup given some added tang with the addition of a little white vinegar.

The updated shrub mixes sugar, raspberry and pineapple juices with the vinegar and, tasted on its own, is as zingy as it sounds. If you don’t want to make your own shrub at home, then use raspberry cordial and pineapple juice.

If you’re only making a few at home you won’t be able to replicate Flint’s presentation – served in a swirl of dry ice coming from an antique genie lamp. The minimum order for a delivery of dry ice is 10 kilograms, but as Rivera says, it’s totally feasible for a party.

Do be careful to make sure your guests don’t ingest any dry ice, though. Or too many cocktails – it’s the difference between Victoria Falls and Victoria falls over.

Here’s how to make a Holy Smoke at home.

60ml Bombay Sapphire gin
25ml shrub
25ml orange curacao
10ml lime juice (for the fizz)
Few drops of orange tincture (90 per cent alcohol infused with orange peel, cloves and cinnamon or substitute orange bitters)

Few drops of decanter bitters (substitute Angostura bitters)

Shake in a cocktail shaker and pour into a bowl containing a large ball of ice. Scatter with rose buds and petals.