Where to Drink in 2015
December 16, 2014
Travel globally, sip locally: no matter the destination, sometimes all you need is a refreshing drink and a spirited crowd to get an inside view of a place and its culture. Go on, raise your glasses—2015 awaits with loads of new adventures.
Published on Dec 16, 2014
NEW YEAR'S VIEWS
Fireworks are more dynamite in the open air. If you're traveling on December 31, consider one of these hotels with alfresco bars where you can drink in the scene. By Jeninne Lee-St. John.
YIN ON 12, BEIJING
The Setting A polished roof terrace at the New World Hotel is split between a lively grill and a cocktails-only bar.
The Vibe Upmarket swagger with old-school views of the Forbidden City.
The Drinks Single-malts that pair beautifully with Cuban cigars, or try the Long Yin Iced Tea and savor the sweet chrysanthemum kick.
YIN on 12 in Beijing
Rock Bar, Bali
The Setting Sheer drama. Waves crash against platforms on rocks at the ocean's edge of Ayana Resort.
The Vibe Exotic exclusivity to which drinkers are delivered via a private funicular.
The Drinks We like the broad use of ginger in the tropical cocktails. Get the flavor-melding Harakiri: sake, fresh ginger, wasabi, passion fruit and lime.
Rock Bar at Ayana Resort, in Bali
Azure Beach Club, Cebu
The Setting The Crimson poured US$2 million into their perfect-for-sunset hotspot, newly opened in October.
The Vibe A friendly buzz engulfs the tanners in the sand and the gourmands in the eatery.
The Drinks Life's a beach! The Foamy Colada is the obvious choice.
Above Eleven, Bangkok
The Setting An enchanted garden on Frasers Suites serves sweet cityscapes and Peruvian-Japanese food.
The Vibe Salsa to hip-hop, daybeds to rocking chairs: this green roof has something for everyone.
The Drinks A menu that includes three varieties of pisco sours and sake-inflected cocktails maintain the fusion theme.
Above Eleven, in Bangkok.
MEN BEHIND BARS
Meet the gents grooming Bangkok's ever-sophisticated after-dark scene. From barrel-aging techniques to an artisanal distillery, these five bold barkeeps push this city's cocktails a cut above the rest. By Richard Mcleish.
Namsaah Bottling Trust
A veteran expat player in the local scene, Dunne has handled some of the city's most formative projects including Bed Supperclub, Ku De Ta and now Namsaah. His partnership with Bangkok's highest profile chef, Ian Kittichai, has resulted in this latest sensory adventure nestled in a colorful old colonial house in Silom.
Sangsom Whiskey Sour, balancing the potentially lethal local spirit with caramel syrup, egg white and a pinch of salt. facebook.com/namsaahbottlingtrust.
J. Boroski Mixology
The enigmatic Boroski is a man about town, but we found him lurking in his new secret namesake bar in Thonglor. In true Boroski style, this bolt-hole has no website, no map, no sign, not even an official name—just a great reputation for bespoke cocktails, cozy surrounds and a savvy crowd. Plus, a peacock.
The bar menu is so mysterious, it doesn't even exist. Drinks are made based on what you feel and what the maestro has on hand. Recent journeying has seen him return with mezcal from the U.S., pink guava from Taiwan, lava salt from Hawaii... any or all of which may wind up in your glass. josephboroski.com.
Hyde & Seek Peek-a-Boo
This dapper Bangkok boy and mixology mentor often judges cutthroat bartending competitions like Bacardi Legacy and the Monin Cup. These days, Purananda helms the bar at Hyde & Seek's new iteration, Peeka-Boo—a brave foray of the established brand into the cluster of outlets at Groove@CentralWorld.
The St. Tropez Smash, a blend of Ketel One vodka, fresh passion fruit, watermelon, vanilla and citrus, is the pinnacle pour of the cocktail institution. hydeandseek.com.
Anöstam, along with the Sorum brothers, is part of the trio you could call the godfathers of Bangkok mixology. They've steered the openings of Rocket, Lady Brett Tavern and Viva Aviv, for example. Their latest, the well-heeled speakeasy-ish U.N.C.L.E. cocktail den, is a study in all the Swedish team is about: premium drinks in considered settings, with that unwavering Nordic eye
What Your U.N.C.L.E. Drinks, featuring Calvados, tawny port, fresh tangerine, pomegranate, lime, light vanilla bean syrup and dry ginger ale. avunculus.com.
A.R. Sutton & Co Engineers Siam
Sutton leaves an impression as lasting as his quirky bar-design legacies that have shaped the city's nightscape over the past few years. His latest imaginative romp in Ekamai is like a colonial Wonka Factory, with a Brothers Grimm undertone.
A lowball of the home-infused Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum—that is, until Sutton gets his white-liquor distiller cranking. facebook.com/a.r.sutton.engineers.
WINE REGIONS TO WATCH
T+L experts Bruce Schoenfeld and Merritt Gurley identify four emerging destinations—and the best bottles in each.
GranMonte Asoke Valley vineyard.
This hilly region in Thailand is still in the nascent stages of churning out fine wines, but fresh talent and grape varieties are vastly improving the vintages.
The GranMonte 2009 Asoke Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah (granmonte.com) blend is full-bodied and fruit-driven: you'll taste the red berries, bell peppers, plums, vanilla and spices.
Where to Sip
The vineyard's onsite VinCotto Restaurant (granmonte.com/vincotto) has an impressive wine library and charming garden terrace.
Local producers are creating bold wines from international varieties (Merlot, Syrah) as well as indigenous grapes such as Fetească Neagră.
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and regional grapes, the Purcari 2008 Negru de Purcari (purcari.md) could pass as an exotic, pricey Napa red, with notes of anise and raspberry jam.
Where to Sip
Carpe Diem (wineshop.md), a well-stocked shop and tasting room in the capital, Chişinău.
A hour and a world away from South Africa's manicured Cape Winelands, entrepreneurs are growing old-vine Chenin Blanc, Syrah and Cinsault.
Sadie Family 2012 Old Vines Series Pofadder Cinsault (thesadiefamily.com) looks like a ros., tastes like tart cherries, and has the full- bodied punch of a great Syrah.
Where to Sip
On the shaded terrace of Bar Bar Black Sheep (facebook.com/barbarbs), in the 17th-century town Riebeek- Kasteel.
Fruity Pinot Noirs and full-throttle Rieslings are replacing sparkling wines as the Australian island’s most exciting exports.
There's a lingering, Burgundy-like finish to the plum- colored, cherry-scented Freycinet Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir (freycinetvineyard.com.au).
Where to Sip
Ethos Eat Drink (ethoseatdrink.com), one of Hobart's most creative kitchens, also has a wine and cocktail bar downstairs.
Ethos Eat Drink
Southeast Asia's craft beer craze is beyond firmly established, and it's still spreading. Brian Spencer rounds up some of the region's most notable breweries.
Stainless steel fermentation tanks anchor the minimalist Tipping Point Brewing Co. (facebook.com/tippingpointbrewingco), Hong Kong's first proper gastropub. Chef and founder Que Vinh Dang ups the ante on bar bites with such savory succulence as Vietnamese pork neck skewers and General Tsao's chicken wings; draft brews are conveniently available by the take-away cup. + Nine Dragons Brewery (ninedragonsbrewery.hk) is one of the only Hong Kong microbreweries bottling. Look for their big-bodied Double Hoppiness IPA and grassy New Territory Pilsner at specialty shops like HK Brewcraft (hkbrewcraft.com).
Launched by three seasoned homebrewers, Craftpoint Brewing Co. (craftpointbrew.com) so far offers two signature ales: a light, luscious Summer Sessions Blonde Ale—the perfect gateway beer for craft neophytes— and the complex, full-flavored Liberation Pale Ale. + The Fish Rider Pale Ale from Joe's Brew (joesbrew.com) is a hot climate-friendly floral bomb.
Fishrider Pale Ale at Joe's Brew.
A slick spin-off of the city's award-winning Boxing Cat Brewery, Liquid Laundry Kitchen & Brew (facebook.com/liquidlaundry) is the gastropub playground of BCB brewmaster Michael Jordan and chef Kelley Lee. Snack on housemade sausages while watching the brewers in action and sipping the froths of their labor (the Tripel Threat is a Belgian-style beer infused with ginger and Sichuan peppercorn), which flow from most of the 15 taps.
Liquid Laundry Kitchen & Brew
Helping lead the revival of the Jalan Besar district, The 1925 Microbrewery & Restaurant (the1925.com.sg) is in an old hardware shop repurposed as a lively brewpub. Try the juicy, citrus-forward Small Monster IPA and silky Manuka Stout, brewed with honey and espresso. An impressive range of mostly British craft imports rounds out the tap list.
Frothy pints at The 1925