Worth a shot
The summer heat is rearing its head and what better way to satisfy that quench than a few summery drinks with friends? It’s no secret Hong Kong has an amazing bar scene with many incredible bartenders, however sometimes it’s nice to make a couple of impressive drinks in the comfort of your own home. This month our spirit of choice is good ol’ vodka, but not just an ordinary vodka and soda. Let’s get a little creative…
Vodka is widely available and you can get a fairly good quality vodka without paying a ridiculous amount. Vodka which originated from Eastern Europe was named after the Russian word ‘voda’ or Polish ‘woda’ which means water. Traditionally, vodka is distilled from cereal grains or potatoes although more modern vodkas do contain other ingredients such as added fruits or sugar. Good quality vodka is almost always drunk neat but many inexpensive vodkas are great for mixing. This is owed to the fact that vodka is very subtly flavoured and lends itself to making delicious cocktails.
When buying vodka, it is better to look at its textural appeal. If you are drinking it neat, go for a high-end vodka with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel like Black Cow Pure Milk Vodka, Sipsmith Sipping Vodka or Beluga Goldline Vodka. Many cheaper grain-based vodkas have a very harsh almost burning aftertaste which make them unsuitable for neat drinks. However, these vodkas are perfect when mixing cocktails and adapt well with fruity flavours.
Here are three Hong Kong summer inspired vodka cocktail recipes that are easy to make and even easier to drink. These recipes all use plain Absolut vodka but feel free to choose something that suits your taste.
Bo Lo Bao Breeze (serves 2)
Inspired by Hong Kong’s favourite pineapple buns, this frozen cocktail is perfect for summer and it’s super easy to make. Throw everything in your blender and there you go! Serve with a frosted rim just like the crunchy sugar crust of this yummy bao.
- 1 tablespoon sugar (plus a little more for the rim)
- 3 ounces vodka
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- 6 ounces pineapple juice
- 2 ounce lime juice
- 1 cup ice
- Wet the rim of a glass with a little bit of lime juice and dip the rim in the sugar.
- In a blender, add the vodka, pineapple juice, lime juice, frozen pineapple, and ice.
- Blend for 3-5 minutes until the mixture is smooth and the ice is finely blended. If the mixture is too thick you can add a little bit more pineapple juice.
- Serve in chilled glasses, garnish with a slice of pineapple.
Sparkling Ginger-Lemon Refresher (serves 2)
Inspired by the flavours of Tong Yuen soup (sans glutinous balls of rice because who needs extra carbs, right?), this gingery drink is not only delicious but have some health benefits such as helping with digestion and being anti-inflammatory. Even more reason to have two of these, mama!
- 6 thin slices of fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 slices of lemon
- 6 ounces vodka
- ¾ cup sparkling water
- In a glass or cocktail shaker, muddle 4 slices of ginger and the brown sugar.
- Add two slices of the lemon and muddle until the lemon starts to just release it’s scent.
- Add the vodka and ice to the shaker, shake well until the outside of the shaker becomes frosty.
- Pour into chilled glasses over ice and garnish with the leftover ginger and lemon slices. Top off with sparkling water and enjoy.
Lunar New Year might have come and gone but that doesn’t mean we should forget about eating watermelon seeds (a common snack during the new year). However, instead of using the seeds we can enjoy the refreshing fruit this summer. The watermelon fruit is a summer favourite and by putting a twist on a classic, you can enjoy a pretty pink drink that everyone will enjoy.
- ½ cup watermelon, seedless and cut into 2cm x 2cm cubes
- 1 ounce of fresh lime juice
- 3 ounces vodka
- 3 ounces watermelon juice
- 3 ounces of cranberry juice
- Freeze the watermelon cubes for a minimum of 6 hours or ideally overnight.
- Fill a shaker with ice. Add the lime juice, vodka, cranberry juice and watermelon juice and shake well until frosty.
- Add the frozen watermelon cubes to the glasses and pour the cocktail over them.
Homemade cocktails have never been this easy. Whether it’s for a lazy rooftop afternoon, a girls’ night in or as part of a summer dinner party… these drinks are guaranteed to have you off to a sizzling start to summer!