Scandinavia is a region rarely probed in Hong Kong’s city borders, situated thousands of kilometres beyond Asia with a contrasting climate, food culture, and people.
As news broke of Sweden’s best bar Tjoget arriving in Hong Kong for a six-month pop-up at Red Sugar, the air surrounding Kerry Hotel in Hung Hom pulsed with the anticipation of examining the coloured vibrancy of Swedish cocktail culture.
Former bartender Niklas Forslin joins the project for the pop-up – rumoured to extend to a year or longer depending on its initial success – to create the Midnight Sun cocktail menu, a fusion of minimalistic mixology and Scandinavian drink principles.
My colourful adventure began with a sharing of Pomelo & Dill (HKD98) whilst sitting on the outdoor deck of Red Sugar, with a magical orange and purple sunset in the distance. Creamy notes are strong in the vodka-based drink, blending Swedish dill akvavit with elderflower for sweetness and acidic pomelo.
The slight bitterness of the dill flavour is matched by the silky pomelo dripped on top of the martini glass and an elderflower pour boasting floral and forest notes. This was a strong and memorable drink to begin my zesty Swedish journey.
The nachos (HKD118) came just in time for my second drink, and I was impressed with the plate. Expect the classic trappings with black olives, guac, salsa, sour cream, minced beef, beans, and Cheddar. Each tortilla crunch bursts with a salty touch and sour aftertaste.
My second drink – Raspberry (HKD118) – hit hard, a strong concoction of cognac, rye whisky, absinthe, and simple syrup, cooked in a sous-vide style with a fresh raspberry base.
With tasting notes on the menu writing “strong, liquorice, fruity”, Red Sugar doesn’t lie. A sip packs a punch with the imitation flavour of raspberry seltzer and earthy woodiness from the whisky and cognac. The divergent ingredients are unique and pleasant on the palate. Take your time with this tipple as its ABV ranks the highest on the menu.
On the playful note of sipping soda-like flavours, the Passionfruit (HKD118) instantly evokes the scent and first sip of a Schweppes cream soda filled with its milky, creamy texture and flavour.
The mix of long-pepper akvavit, citrus, passion fruit, and egg white promises a tropical surprise that doesn’t kick hard with its light body, helped on by the egg-white infusion to froth up the cocktail.
Our verdict of Red Sugar
Niklas Forslin brings a playful excitement to Red Sugar, reinvigorating the Hung Hom hotel bar with a cocktail menu simple with ingredients but complex on the palate. The affable Swede infuses bright colour into his cocktails, warranting a trip to Red Sugar to explore the love transported from Sweden.
|Order this: Pomelo & Dill, Beetroot, Passionfruit, Peach
Menu: Red Sugar’s Midnight Sun menu
Price for two: cocktails start at HKD98
|Atmosphere: playful and exciting, with wicked sunset views and an experimental mixology style
Perfect for: exploring Scandinavian hospitality and cocktail culture with expert Niklas Forslin
This review is intended to offer an individual perspective on the dining experience and should not be considered as a definitive judgement of the restaurant’s overall quality or reputation. The views expressed in this review are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions of Foodie.