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5 Bars to Drink Craft Cocktails

August 14, 2014

Cocktails can tell you as much about a culture as the cuisine. Stephanie Zubiri turns alcoholic anthropologist, testing potent concoctions that brim with local flavor.

Published on Aug 14, 2014



Set within warm, inviting wooden interiors, [1] Catalunya has garnered just as many accolades for its bar as its kitchens, with award winning mixologist Dario Nocentini at the helm, moving beyond the Mediterranean in flavor and inspiration.

In honor of its city of residence, indulge yourself in a Hong Kong Star—a frothy sweet and sour splendor of pineapple, Frangelico, Belvedere vodka, lime, honey and the ubiquitous star anise. GF Guardian House, Morrison Hill, 32 Oi Kwan Rd., Wan Chai; +852 2866 7900;

Catalunya, Hong Kong



Ryan Clift of the Tippling Club transforms familiar local Southeast Asian flavors with his signature modernist flare and imagination at [2] Ding Dong, where he packs his cocktails with bold spices and herbs normally reserved for the wok—like galangal.

Ask for the Pirates of Malacca, an icy rum-based cocktail with a refreshing blend of calamansi, pineapple, falernum sweet syrup and gula melaka, the local palm sugar. 23 Ann Siang Rd.; +65 6557 0189;

Ding Dong



Mood lighting, wooden paneling and arched ceilings at [3] Spasso set the perfect loungey atmosphere for nursing a well-earned after-work drink. The cocktail menu is peppered with local spices like Thai holy basil and lemon grass, and even the dangerous Mekong whisky makes a few appearances.

Sip the Siam Sunray to enjoy the zesty bite of fresh ginger, lemon juice and kaffir lime leaves, offset by sweet Malibu rum and charged with a shot of Smirnoff vodka. 1F Grand Hyatt Erawan, 494 Rajdamri Rd.; +66 2 254 1234;




The brainchild of Pablo Fourcard and Josh Davies, [4] Watercress Malam is a welcome addition to Bali's nightlife. Opened just this January, the cocktail menu is inspired by the lush tropical climate and fertile volcanic soil of the island.

Order the After Dark Iced Tea, a large glass filled with mango, pineapple and dragonfruit, mixed with Tanqueray gin, bitter Campari and Cointreau, and topped with a tea infusion and lots of crushed ice. This sultry libation will keep you cool as you melt languidly into the evening. 21a Jl. Batubelig ; +62 361 780 8030;

Watercress Malam



Tucked away in a quiet nondescript area of Makati City, [5] Finders Keepers is a hard-tofind hipster bar often packed with the young, the beautiful and the edgy bobbing about to some rock or electro beats. The mohawked barmen whip up a selection of cocktails using local Don Papa Rum from the Philippines's historic sugar producing region.

Try the Strawberry Don, a mix of fresh strawberries, Don Papa rum and limes, the perfect taste of Manila—a little bit of west, a little bit of east. Warehouse 5, La Fuerza Plaza, 2241 Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati; +63 917 821 9761.

Finders Keepers



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  • Catalunya
  • Ding Dong
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