(Reuters.com) - Visit Hong Kong and you'll quickly notice two things: the killer jet lag and the killer views.
On the ground, Hong Kong is a busy, bustling, somewhat claustrophobic city, where business gets done at rapid-fire speed. But above the fray, a more serene mood takes hold. One of the great pleasures of Hong Kong is the multitude of opportunities to relax with a cocktail while the city unfurls its expansive view outside colossal hotel windows.
For a view on where to drink in 2011, I turned to Angus Winchester of Alconomics Asia, a Hong Kong-based bar consultancy.
"The only real Hong Kong cocktail is non-alcoholic," Winchester says. "It's called a Gunner, and is ginger ale and ginger beer mixed with lemon and a dash of bitters."
As for where to enjoy a Gunner (or stronger drink), Winchester regards The Captain's Bar (here) at the Mandarin Oriental, in the heart of the Central district, as the ultimate business bar.
"It's where all the tai-pans of Hong Kong used to go, and it still reeks of business," he explains. "You know you have made it when you have your own silver tankard behind the bar."
Other business-worthy options include Felix (bit.ly/jvYaVI), at the posh Peninsula Hotel, known for its avant-garde Philippe Starck design and its panoramic city views - even from the loo.
Meanwhile, at the top of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, Ozone (here) bills itself as the highest bar in the world. The view of Victoria Harbor is said to be especially spectacular at sunset.
For the pure "see-and-be-seen" scene, Winchester recommends members-only Kee Club (www.keeclub.com/hongkong/), the MO Bar (here) at the Mandarin Landmark (at this spa-conscious hotel, look for the "Mo-Tox" cocktail, a blend of citrus vodka, limoncello, fruit juices, ginger and coriander), and Sugar (here), located on the 32nd floor of the East Hotel.
But his personal favourite for a great cocktail is Café Gray Deluxe (www.cafegrayhk.com/) at the Upper House, for well-made drinks from "bar god" Sam Jeveons, like the Hong Kong Highball (Belvedere Raspberry Vodka, ginger, honey, lemon, Champagne).
RECIPE: Gunner Courtesy of Angus Winchester
This refreshing non-alcoholic drink is especially popular with the numerous British expatriates living and doing business in Hong Kong.
2 large dashes Angostura bitters
4 ounces ginger ale
4 ounces ginger beer
3 slices fresh lemon
Coat the inside of a high-ball glass with bitters. Add the rest of the ingredients and cubed ice. Stir briefly.
(Kara Newman is the author of "Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails," available here) (Editing by Peter Myers)