Steered by Four Seasons Hong Kong’s Beverage Manager Lorenzo Antinori, the hotel has opened ARGO, a collaboration with Never Never Distilling Co.
ARGO has been in development for two and a half years. Hong Kong’s newest hot spot will celebrate innovation across its entire cocktail and spirits list, showcasing what it calls the future of drinking.
Never Never Distilling Co. has been chosen for their expertise in the martini and are the creators of the new house martini. Never Never Co-founder and Brand Director Sean Baxter worked with Lorenzo and the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong in-house tea sommelier to create a new gin with tea as the key botanical as it is deeply connected to the Chinese way of life.
Using their Triple Juniper process to amplify base notes of juniper and coriander seed, the resulting gin was first matured in a locally-sourced ex-chardonnay barrel that was rapidly seasoned with Mancino Secco vermouth under vacuum.
This process ensured penetration into the wood that would usually take years while removing the oxidised components that would overpower the subtle character of the distilled teas in the final blend.
The magic of the serve was put together by Lorenzo, who has helmed some of the world’s most prestigious and influential cocktail bars.
Keeping the bottle well below freezing point, ARGO gin arrives at the table at -14 degrees and is served directly into a chilled glass tableside. The accompanying selection of two chilled seasonal hydrosols brings the martini up to temperature and gives guests a choice of a savoury or citrus direction.
Conceived as “a cocktail bar that explores the modern world,” the 70-seat establishment takes its name from the Greek fable of Jason and the Argonauts, who sailed in search of the legendary Golden Fleece.
The design of the venue evokes mythical proportions, with a double-height volume anchored in the centre by a gilded, tree-like column of rarefied spirits. The use of chrome-plated furnishings mixed with bright pastel upholstery evokes retro-futuristic comparisons to the Futurism art movement of the early 20th century, in a nod to the cocktail program’s future-forward ethos.
ARGO Gin is currently used in the house martini at ARGO bar Hong Kong and is set to launch in Australia this summer, available online.