Culturally inspired cocktails with herbs and spices: Apothecary bar in Hong Kong
Check out our local brand interview with Apothecary, a cocktail bar in Hong Kong that is the perfect mash of modern and rustic, exuding Harry Potter ambience with their potion-esque like bar. Keep an eye out for their logo stamped on their large ice cubes 😉 It’s a perfect place to catch up with friends while overlooking the Tai Kwun night view.
Tell us about Apothecary! What inspired you to start this journey?
Lik hang, co-founder of Apothecary: “I began working in the bar industry when I was 18, as a way to make some extra money (plus I really like drinking), and fell in love with the industry almost immediately. I had basically made it a point in my mind to open a bar at that moment, so 8 years down the line I decided to fast forward my plans and do something with my business partner Austen, and soon after Apothecary was here.
We were inspired by the sophisticated and timeless flavours of herbs and spices, as well as their applications in cuisine. Herbal flavours tend to have a bit of a bad rap, especially more medicinal flavours, so we set out to change that perception.”
Can you share your journey as an entrepreneur?
“For me, I didn’t have to change industries because I was already in it to begin with. That said, I started out focusing on shisha, so the swap into cocktails took a lot of studying and personal practice to get right.”
What's the biggest challenge you faced so far?
“I think there’s two answers to this particular question. In a regular universe, I’d say consistency is the ultimate key to sustaining a successful business. We’ve taken huge steps to optimize consistency, and it has clearly paid out in dividends, but it’s a continuous effort everyday to get right.
The second answer which is more applicable to the current climate is covid, and I don’t think that needs an explanation!”
What's something important you've learnt along the way?
“Managing a bar and owning a bar is a very different role. I was in a management position when I was 19, although if I was in the position to promote myself at the time, I’d probably not promote myself. Nevertheless, its been many years of experience, and yet owning a bar has been a completely new trial and error process. Balancing the staff welfare and my own considerations have been a difficult and delicate process, but we’re definitely working on it.”
What does Apothecary want to bring to the people of Hong Kong?
“We use alot of culturally significant ingredients. With every subsequent menu, expect to find culturally inspired cocktails!
For this menu in particular we are very proud of the Wolf Peach Highball, a clarified tomato soda that offers a different interpretation of tomato that is very clean and thin. It’s a very different flavour profile that can be compared to something alike a tomato consomme. The process of creating this drink took a very long time, as we ran into several major problems with consistency, but since then we’ve figured it out and managed to deliver at what we believe to be the highest standard. It’s also my personal favourite!”
We enjoyed that drink too! My favourite is Kaldi and the Dancing Goats.
Did any cultures and previous experiences help to shape your vision for Apothecary?
“I think being very receptive to flavour at a very young age has essentially propelled myself into the F&B business. Very fortunate to have been trained by my parents to eat well at a young age, I’ve developed a rather niche palate and as a result we’re also trying to offer an excellent product in a niche market.”
Can you share a tip with us for people who are entering/on the same journey?
“Your staff are the most important asset to your company. Treat them well always.”