The Aubrey at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong Launches a New Cocktail Programme

August 1, 2022

(Hong Kong, 1 August 2022) Fresh from being recognised among Asia’s 50 Best Bars within its first year of opening, The Aubrey at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, continues to raise the cocktail bar with an innovative new cocktail programme starring Japan’s most popular spirit – shochu.

(Hong Kong, 1 August 2022) Fresh from being recognised among Asia’s 50 Best Bars within its first year of opening, The Aubrey at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, continues to raise the cocktail bar with an innovative new cocktail programme starring Japan’s most popular spirit – shochu.

More widely consumed in Japan than sake or whisky, shochu is the perfect food-friendly beverage to enjoy at The Aubrey, a modern Japanese izakaya created in partnership with Maximal Concepts. While millions of Japanese drink shochu every day, it remains little-known overseas.

Devender Sehgal, Hotel Beverage Manager at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, has a vision of bringing this revered centuries-old spirit into the spotlight. “Hong Kong people have a sophisticated palate and embrace new discoveries, particularly when it comes to Japan. I’m excited to introduce something that is so celebrated, yet many guests are unfamiliar with.”

One reason for shochu’s popularity is its diversity of flavour profiles that make it an incredibly versatile drink. It can be made from 50 different base ingredients, the main ones being sweet potato, barley, rice, buckwheat and sugar cane. Unlike sake, which is fermented, shochu is distilled. Its alcohol content is generally lower than vodka, gin or whisky, making it easy to drink and pair with food. The top classification, honkaku shochu, is single-distilled and crafted in small batches, allowing the pure flavours of the primary grain or starch to shine through.  

“It’s a refined drink made the traditional way and speaks to our desire for the artisanal. Shochu is so well thought out as distillers have spent more than 500 years perfecting the process. The Aubrey is pleased to be the foremost bar in Hong Kong focusing on shochu and to play an educational role by creating original cocktails that bring out the nuances of this exceptional spirit,” says Sehgal.

Comprised of eight new cocktails, The Aubrey’s new signature cocktail menu features two distinct drinks per geographical indication of shochu.

The four geographical indications (GI) for shochu

Just like wines from Champagne or Bordeaux, or Scotch whisky, shochu has its own internationally protected geographical indication (GI) that recognises the special qualities of a product from a particular region. Sehgal, who has visited some of the best shochu distilleries in Japan, has created eight new cocktails to showcase the unique characteristics of shochu from the GIs of four prefectures, all located in southern Japan.

Satsuma shochu

Satsuma shochu must be made using imo (sweet potato) from Kagoshima prefecture on the island of Kyushu. Highlighting the beauty of this prized spirit is the Harmony cocktail, comprised of just two key ingredients – satsuma shochu and sauvignon blanc juice – allowing drinkers to clearly savour the spirit’s terroir. Inspired by chuhai, a fizzy canned drink found in vending machines and convenience stores all over Japan, The Aubrey elevates it to a beverage worthy of reverence. The sauvignon blanc juice teases out, rather than masks the luscious fruit and sweet potato characters of the premium shochu, providing sweetness without adding sugar, while a few drops of citric acid add a bit of tang. Naturally carbonated to finish and garnished with a nasturtium leaf, it makes for a refreshing cocktail that sparkles and dances lightly on one’s palate.

Iki shochu

Iki shochu is made with mugi (barley) from Iki island in Nagasaki prefecture, giving it a distinctively rich and earthy flavour. The Two Row Barley layers one barley-based spirit (shochu) on another (Scotch whisky), to create a cocktail with power and finesse. Vermouth rosso brings a touch of sweetness, and Benedictine adds herbal notes in this elegant twist on the classic Bobby Burns. Showing clear barley flavours, a surprise comes in the form of nostalgic, burnt popcorn aromas that may evoke childhood memories.

Kuma shochu

Kuma shochu has beautiful floral characteristics reminiscent of sake, thanks to the use of fragrant kome (rice) from the city of Hitoyoshi in Kumamoto prefecture. The Mizu No Kuni (land of water) cocktail is emblematic of this style and an expression of the purity and clarity of the famed waters of the Kuma River. The foundation is shochu made from the finest polished rice, while the addition of sweet potato shochu lends it complexity. Nuttiness and depth are achieved by using amontillado sherry and banana liqueur, to produce a drink defined by its elegance and approachability.

Ryukyu awamori

Awamori – thought to be the oldest spirit distilled in Japan – hails from the island of Okinawa. It’s a shochu made with Thai long-grain rice, evidence of the island’s history as an important port for traders from China, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand. Doing justice to this storied spirit is the Worship, which takes its cue from the 20th Century Cocktail, but with an Asian update. The floral notes come from lillet blanc, while a taste of chocolate is offered thanks to the white crème de cacao. Instead of gin however, the Harmony uses aged awamori and lemon juice is replaced by champagne vinegar. Mirin rounds out the ingredients, offering a world of umami in a glass, perfect for martini lovers.

The new shochu cocktail programme will be available at The Aubrey on the 25th floor of Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, from 3rd August, 2022 onwards.

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About Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

The iconic Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is the epitome of contemporary luxury combined with Oriental heritage. Having delighted guests with award-winning services and impressive facilities for over 58 years, it is a much-loved address for those seeking an exclusive sanctuary in the heart of the city. The hotel’s spacious rooms and suites offer magnificent views of the renowned Victoria Harbour and the city’s skyline. A collection of nine outstanding restaurants and bars, including two that hold Michelin Star status, a luxurious club lounge, a Shanghainese-inspired holistic spa, an indoor pool and a state-of-the-art fitness centre, make Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong the quintessential “home away from home” for discerning leisure and business travellers alike.

Photographs of Mandarin Oriental are available to download, in high and low resolution, from the Photo Library in the Media section of the hotel’s website:

About Maximal Concepts

Maximal Concepts is an international restaurant group based in Hong Kong, helmed by Malcolm Wood, Xuan Mu and Matt Reid. Since 2012, the group has been responsible for opening award-winning F&B concepts in Hong Kong and beyond, including Mott 32, John Anthony, Sip Song, Limewood and many more.

The group’s vision is to build the first global luxury Chinese restaurant brand originated and from Hong Kong. Mott 32 was the first luxury Chinese restaurant to be franchised from East to West and currently has five locations; Hong Kong, Vancouver, Las Vegas, Singapore and Seoul - with three more locations set to open by 2023. Mott 32 is named after 32 Mott Street - the location of the first Chinese convenience store that opened in New York in the 1800s, the epicentre of the area that is now known as Chinatown. The unique interior of each Mott 32 location has been created in partnership with award-winning designer Joyce Wang Studio.

The group has most recently partnered with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to open The Aubrey, an eccentric izakaya, which opened in February 2021 on the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.

For further information, please contact:

Companion Communications:

Dominique Backhouse

Companion Communications


T. +852 9088 1096

Alex Berry

Companion Communications


T. +852 6311 9809

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong:

Jennifer Leung (

Marketing Communications Manager

Tel: +852 2825 4919