1073 Cocktails and 238 Bars now listed
The Shangai Bar at Hutong is the perfect spot for guests dining at the award-winning Chinese restaurant to enjoy a cocktail before their meal, as well as a destination in its own right. Unique drinks include ‘bing cha’ – literally ‘iced tea’ – punches blending premium spirits with fine rare Chinese teas, fruits and herbs, served in traditional Chinese tea-ware and steaming with dry ice. The Shanghai Bar also offers a concise but strong list of classics given a contemporary Chinese spin alongside innovative new creations from bars manager Myles Donneky’s team. No reservations are needed or taken and the bar is open continuously from 12 noon until midnight seven days a week. A selection of dim sum is available from 1pm to 5pm daily, giving bar guests the opportunity to experience the fine Chinese cuisine for which Hutong is famous.
It’s not often you get to sit and watch the sun dip below the horizon from thirty-three floors up while being poured a chilled tea-cocktail from a steaming pot. The Thames becomes a snaking silver ribbon and the lights begin to blink on in the houses below like Christmas decorations. This is the kind of experience you can have if you come to Hutong at the Shard to enjoy one of the cocktails on their brand new list, and we can assure you it’s not to be missed.
Since opening about a year ago, Hutong has earned a reputation for delivering unique and delicious cocktails with an oriental edge. But always willing to push the boundaries, bars manager Myles Donneky has teamed up with Henrietta Lovell, the Queen of the Tea Leaf, and bar manager Filippo Testa, to deliver four brand new Bing Cha cocktails.
‘Bing Cha’ means iced tea, and each of the new libations uses a different Chinese leaf as the base, and marries flavours accordingly to create refreshing, subtle and delectable results. The choices include the Fujian Breeze (combining Hendricks gin, mint and white silver-tipped tea) and the Moli Hau (jasmine tea with vodka, egg white and peach bitters), but to be honest you’ll want to try all of them.
Glass urns on the bar are an aesthetic delight that show the infusing of the tea, and when the cocktails themselves are delivered then they’re a sight in themselves. Beautiful ornate Chinese teapots arrive, and yes, that is steam erupting from the spout! But it’s only dry ice, and adds to the experience, along with the glowing red lanterns and mahogany fittings in Hutong bar that evoke the heady seductiveness of the Far East.
The cocktails themselves are a revelation. Complex and delicate, it is evident the tea has been respected foremost. This gives a wonderful, clean freshness to each drink, which differs from the smoky to the floral to the almost medicinal. The liquors and spirits have been chosen with care. Our favourite was probably the Shuanglong – a masterful combination of three whiskies, honey and chives, that merged with the peaty taste of the oolong tea with whisky and honey to create a rich sweetness.
And what about the other cocktails on the list? We defy you not to be wooed by the Shanghai Vines (kaffir lime infused tequila mixed with grapes and kumquat, among other things, which was a burst of fruity flavour) or the Golden Dragon (rum, ginger & lemongrass cordial and dragon fruit). For a more fruity and punchy version of a cosmopolitan, go for the Red Phoenix, which uses Cachaça infused with tamarind and mandarin juice, while the Red Snapper is an oriental alternative to a classic Bloody Mary. The two that really rocked my world were the Hutong Julep (both earthy and sweet with a great rounded flavour) and the Jade Emperor – ginseng spirit, Midori, Chinese five spice tincture and basil leaves. The melon and the herbs combined to make a complex but palate-pleasing cocktail that was finished in an instant.
Hutong have proven that they are dedicated to keeping things innovative and exciting, both with concept and flavours. The Bing Cha are examples of beautiful cocktails done well, and it’s a chance to try something not easily available. The range of exotic ingredients found on the menu keep things fresh, and not only that but the drinks look amazing – from the twisting grapes adorning the Shanghai Vines to the mini chilli clipped to the Red Snapper. Combine this with the stunning location and Hutong really does offer a drinking experience that will blow you away.