With a ludicrously long menu of signature cocktails and wines, Quinary is the kind of bar that you must be coming back to over and over to keep trying something new with each visit. Behind a mesh-style fence at the end of the long bar is a small beverage design laboratory of dehydrators, slow cookers, and rotary evaporators. It’s a subtle flex, as of to say “we ain’t done yet.” Also, a like bit of “we’re pretty frickin’ smart.”
Frankly, the name is a hint right from the start. “Quinary,” is a completely different way of counting. Think “binary,” except in base 5 instead of base 2. It’s technical, it’s thought provoking, and — for those who know how to appreciate it — it’s fun.
This Earl Grey Caviar Martini is a firework display of flavors and textures. The menu describes this drink as “Everything/Fun” because it literally has everything in it. It’s their best selling and an award winning cocktail made with Cointreau, Ketel One Citroen vodka, elderflower syrup, and dosed with a fancy serving of Earl Grey tea caviar. That last ingredient is their take on a molecular gastronomy boba. Finally, the concoction is topped with Earl Grey tea “air,” which basically a foam with the tea aromatics suspended in the bubbles.
There’s is some layering in terms of flavor, but the vodka is very present throughout the cocktail, which may be overpowering and might not be everyone’s cup of tea (pun intended). But what really puts this drink over the top is its highly experiential and visual component of having a big tower of foam that really tastes and smells like Earl Grey. It is celebrated by camera flashes every time one is served and a drinker tries to take that fun first sip from the glass without getting foam on his or her nose.
Tip: drink this with your head tilted back, similarly to how one takes a heady pint of Guinness. The Earl Grey Martini has gained much notoriety in a short period of time that even the The Bar Awards for Hong Kong was compelled to name it drink of the year.
Find Quinary on Hong Kong Island, and follow @quinaryhk on Instagram.