KATE WOODBURY takes one for the team and tries a new range of bottled cocktails for home delivery that make prepping drinks at home a breeze. Read on to find out what she thought, plus details of a special offer for Expat Living readers.
Hong Kong is famed for world-class bars and innovative cocktail mixologists so we’re never short of ideas to get our boozy fix. However, if you’re looking to enjoy cocktails at home without investing in multiple bottles of liquor and loads of equipment, then LAIBA Beverages might just be the answer.
This is the brainchild of Shanghai-based mixologist Michael Chen and his partners, Alexander Petersen, Mark Connolly and Lars Battefeld. Their goal was simple: to deliver luxury bottled cocktails that could match it with those served in the world’s top bars.
And the results are pretty impressive. Each cocktail uses only natural ingredients including craft spirits, cold press juices and natural syrups, with no artificial additives. You simply add ice to your chosen glass, shake the cocktail bottle, pour and add a garnish.
We tried the full selection (no, not in one sitting!) – read our tasting notes below.
Vodka, Ruby Port Wine, Tomato, Lemon, LAIBA Mary Mix (ABV 12%)
There are so many variations to this famous drink, and everyone has their favourite. The LAIBA version is a solid Bloody Mary, rich with a deep umami flavour; we simply garnished with a celery stick and a twist of black pepper. What’s more, this is a relatively low-calorie option at just 108 per serve.
I Am Coconuts
Red Chilli and Kaffir Limeinfused White Rum, Lime, Apple and Coconut (ABV 14.6%)
Here at EL, we love tropical cocktails, so were excited to try this. And it didn’t disappoint – the coconut and lime balanced the rum beautifully. The chilli was a little too subtle for our tastes, though this was quickly remedied by adding a thin slice directly to the drink – perfect!
Single Malt Whiskey, Lemon, Nutmeg & Hazelnut-infused Salted Caramel, Apple, Angostura Bitters, Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters (ABV 15.9%)
Inspired by the classic Whiskey Sour, this complex cocktail is smooth, sweet and bitter – all in one sip! It’s also an easy introduction to whisky-based cocktails.
Earl’s Old Fashioned
Earl Grey Tea-infused Single Malt Orange Whisky, Vanilla Salted Caramel, Scrappy’s Orange Bitters, Angostura Bitters (ABV 26.3%)
This is definitely one for whisky lovers and it packs a big punch. Inspired, of course by the Old Fashioned, this version sees single malt whisky infused with orange and earl grey tea to add a new dimension to the classic.
In Love With Rosemary
Strawberry & Rosemary-infused Gin, Aperol, Lemon, Apple, Rosemary Syrup, Scrappy’s Black Lemon Bitters (ABV 11.7%)
This is a complex cocktail cleverly combining and infusing strawberry and rosemary, which just happen to be two of my favourite ingredients. Don’t forget to add a sprig of rosemary for maximum flavour!
Cucumber-infused Vodka, Lime, Passionfruit Puree (ABV 13.2%)
The Passion De-Light is a lovely refreshing summer drink best served in a tall glass with cucumber. We loved the sweet, zesty and citrus notes – and it’s ideal for the calorie-conscious, with just 104 calories a serve.
Strawberry and Rosemary-infused Gin, Campari, Cinzano Rosso, Cocchi Amaro (ABV 25%).
This classic Italian aperitivo is traditionally made from equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari, and the LAIBA incarnation is another one that has a decent kick to it. The perfect blend of ingredients results in a slightly bitter yet delicious cocktail. Garnish with a twist of orange rind.
Cold Brew Martini
Vanilla Infused Vodka, Black Rum, Cold Brew Coffee, Salted Caramel (ABV 15.4%)
There’s a lot to like here: all the flavours of a classic espresso martini simply poured into a martini glass – it really doesn’t get any easier for that caffeine-fuelled hit. This got a big thumbs up from us!
How to stock your cabinet
Ordering is simple from the easy-to-navigate website, with same-day delivery options available. Priced at $75 per bottle, there are eight cocktails to choose from. You can mix and match your box to curate your perfect cocktail evening.
Another option is to choose one of the LAIBA Gift Boxes ($429 for six bottles; $589 for eight). This could make the ideal Christmas present or a fun happy hour treat for a friend in quarantine. Personalised gift notes can be added when ordering eight bottles or more.
A short history of the cocktail…
- 1803: First written mention of a “cocktail” as a beverage, in the US (the text said: “Drank a glass of cocktail, excellent for the head”)
- 1806: First official definition: “Cock-tail is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters … it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head”
- 1862: Release of How to Mix Drinks, including 10 cocktail recipes
- 1917: The first “cocktail party” is thrown, in Missouri
- 1920-1933: Prohibition in America sees cocktails become popular because of their accessibility over beer and wine
- 1960s: Cocktails decline in popularity 2000s New styles of mixology bring about the rise of a new cocktail culture
Quote “EL15” and enjoy 15 percent off on your order. Scan the QR code to shop or visit hk.shop.laibabeverages.com.
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