Seven drinks for Art Basel Hong Kong visitors so tasteful they could be in a gallery
These art-inspired refreshments can help you unwind after an exhausting day visiting the various galleries’ stands
Art Week can be exhausting. Either you’re bouncing from fair to fair trying to take it all in, or you’re trying to avoid the collectors and gallerists making highfalutin conversation over champagne bunch. But even if gallery hopping isn’t your thing, these art-inspired drinks will turn you from critic to acolyte.
Paddy Button, Absolut Art Bar: Room Service
How arty is Absolut’s pop-up Room Service bar at Potato Head, as designed by Hong Kong-based artist João Vasco Paiva? So arty that it was inspired by a Terrence Malick film, specifically the opening scene of Malick’s 1998 war epic The Thin Red Line, in which a soldier wanders around a deserted South Pacific island. Room Service delivers an urban take on the theme, with videos of abandoned Hong Kong places projected onto screens that sway in the wind. Themed cocktails are inspired by famous castaways. Try the Paddy Button (HK$128), named for the cook in The Blue Lagoon: a blend of Absolut Elyx, Havana Club 7-year-old, Sichuan pepper-infused maple syrup, smoke and peat bitters.
Drink available March 17 to April 2, Potato Head Hong Kong, 100 Third St, Sai Ying Pun. Inquiries: 2858 6066
Glasshouse, The Woods
The Woods is home to Hong Kong’s artiest cocktails as it is, and this year the artisanal bar has come up with three drinks inspired by three modern artists. Spots Obsession (HK$120) is a series of vibrant shooters, laid out like Damien Hirst’s trademark spot paintings. Darkest Desires (HK$125) pays homage to the mirrored sculptures of Anish Kapoor and his licensing of Vantablack, the world’s darkest pigment. The drink contains a mirror frozen into an ice cube, inside a black squid ink cocktail. Glasshouse (HK$140) takes its cue from the geometric work of Olafur Eliasson, with a frame inspired by his work, One-Way Colour Tunnel. VIP ticket holders for Art Basel and Art Central receive a 15 per cent discount.
March 20 to 27, L/G 17-19 Hollywood Rd, Central. Inquiries: 2522 0281
An Oak Tree, Felix
The Peninsula hotel’s Love Art initiative continues this year with an installation from British conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin, who has installed a giant yellow steel light bulb in the Pen’s forecourt. Upstairs at Felix, cocktails deliver equally arty alcohol set against stunning harbour views. Drinks include An Oak Tree (HK$148) inspired by Craig-Martin’s 1973 conceptual artwork of the same name, in which he mounted a glass of water on a shelf. It was accompanied by text explaining that an actual oak tree was physically present – it was just in the form of a glass of water. A tricky concept to wrap your head around, but this blend of Havana Club 7-year-old, basil, lime and agave should make it easier to comprehend – or at least induce less of a headache, short-term.
March 13 to April 16, 28/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui. Inquiries: 2696 6778
Temple Street, Room One
Hong Kong’s glittering lights and neon and would have Van Gogh reaching for his paints, although the light pollution might get in the way of another Starry Night. The Mira Hong Kong’s lobby bar marks Art Week with four alcoholic works of art inspired by the city itself. Check out the Temple Street (HK$108), a concoction of vodka, Frangelico, fig liquor and lemon, served in a glass dusted with prune powder alongside a serving of roasted chestnuts. The Flight to Kai Tak (HK$108) is a mix of tequila, crème de cassis, lime, orange, maple syrup and kumquat, served alongside roasted nori seaweed. Much like the approach to Kai Tak airport itself, it’s extremely dangerous if you haven’t been trained to handle it.
March 8 to 26, Mira Hong Kong, 118 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui. Inquiries: 2315 5888
Garden Globe, Artesian
Springtime has always been a favourite time for artists – why else hold Art Week in March? But it doesn’t have to all be water lilies or woodblock prints of cherry blossoms. The Artesian bar at The Langham Hong Kong embraces the coming of spring in the ornate Garden Globe (HK$130): a light, floral mix of elderflower, violet and blackcurrant liqueur, with lime juice and egg white. Edible flowers, encased in a hemisphere of ice, top the concoction. As the ice melts, the flowers are revealed, just as spring flowers emerge from winter snows. How’s that for a still life?
March 1 to April 30, The Langham Hong Kong, 8 Peking Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui. Inquiries: 2375 1133
Satin Affair, Duddell’s
Duddell’s is home to plenty of salons and arty meetings over Art Week, as well as its own “Abstraction of the World” exhibit. The Satin Affair (HK$145) is inspired by the work of South Korean artist Haegue Yang, who’s exhibiting her work at Duddell’s. In Yang’s series “Non Foldings – Cosmic Explosions”, she sprays paint around objects, leaving shadowy, monochrome impressions on the canvas. The Satin Affair is a mix of Irish whiskey and Jamaican coffee, blended with activated charcoal. It’s served over a white lactose ice cube that gradually melts into the black drink, bleeding white into the blackness – just like Yang’s work. Unlike Yang’s paintings, it also tastes good.
March 23 to 25, Duddell’s, 3/F Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell St, Central. Inquiries: 2525 9191
Murakami’s Psychedelic Flower Cocktail, Seafood Room
Seafood Room’s rooftop bar offers views of the city that are prettier than most pictures. But make time after a hard day’s tramping around the fairs to consider Murakami’s Psychedelic Flower Cocktail (HKD148) as inspired by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, founder of the Superflat art movement. Head mixologist Alexandre Chatté’s drink features Tanqueray gin, yuzu juice, Lillet and sweet rhubarb liquor, topped with the artist’s trademark multihued smiling flower.
March 6 to 31, Seafood Room, 26/F Tower 535, 535 Jaffe Rd, Causeway Bay. Inquiries: 3708 9668