Holly Graham, author of “Cocktails of Asia” (published by our company Man Mo Media), handpicks some of the most romantic sips in the region.
La Paloma De Oaxaca
Currently ranked as number one on Asia’s 50 Best Bars and 17th on The World’s 50 Best Bars, this shrine to all things agave led by Hong Kong is an impressive yet intimate date spot for Valentine’s looking to impress their partner. For the agave-uninitiated, Jay and his team will talk you through different types of tequila and mezcal, and to try both in cocktail form, don’t miss the bar’s infamous La Paloma De Oaxaca. Inspired by the Paloma, the ubiquitous Mexican refresher of tequila and grapefruit soda, COA’s adds a Oaxacan take by adding mezcal, fresh lime, craft grapefruit soda and an umami-laden rim of worm salt.
ATLAS French 75
Nothing says romance like Singapore’s most breathtaking bar. No trip to the city is complete without a visit to gawp at the sheer beauty of ATLAS. This monolithic shrine to gin boasts 1,550 bottles housed in the bar’s masterpiece: a stunning and central 8-meter tower. Of those bottles, more than 1,300 are an ever-changing rotation of gins from all over the world. ATLAS also specializes in Champagne, with more than 250 labels on offer. It goes without saying that to get the best of both worlds, the elegant ATLAS French 75 with gin, lemon, creme de peche and topped with Champagne is a must-try.
Welcome to the Jungle
Valentine’s is also about keeping it classy. For fun drinks and a party atmosphere, head to Tropic City – a jungle hideout in the middle of Thailand’s sprawling capital of Bangkok. The tropical den is inspired by the Caribbean, South Pacific, Southeast Asia with colorful decor to match the vivid drinks. Welcome To The Jungle — one of the very first cocktails crafted at Tropic City that’s featured on the signature cocktail menu ever since – is served in a hollowed out Thai pineapple which, let’s be honest, everyone wants in a tropical bar. The heady tiki-esque cocktail is a blend of dark and white rums, apricot liqueur, allspice dram, vanilla syrup and fresh pineapple, orange and lime juices.
Trigona Old Fashioned
For the perfect Valentine’s nightcap with a focus on sustainability, head to Bar Trigona which celebrates the rich produce of Malaysia. Housed in the Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur, the bar takes its name from a stingless bee called the trigona, which produces a unique, citrusy honey. An Old Fashioned makes for a great date night finisher, so to get a taste of the bar’s namesake, order the Trigona Old Fashioned with bourbon, Cynar, trigona honey, Orleans bitters and cedarwood essential oil. If you love the honey, you can even adopt a hive through a scheme divided by the Bar Trigona team.
They say chocolate is an aphrodisiac, making cacao-focussed cocktail bar Memento Mori in Tokyo a great Valentine’s destination. The cocktails here use all of the components of cacao, including the pulp, nib, husk and butter. These are then combined with various botanics such as fruits, flowers, plants, roots and seeds. There’s also a selection of cacao tea cocktails, cacao spirits and cacao tea as well as a selection of dishes that incorporate cacao. Theobroma is the scientific name for cacao, and also the name of one of Memento Mori’s signatures. This Martini-like concoction features cacao nib-infused vodka and rum, vintage port and creme de cassis.