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Quintessential Hong Kong Cocktail Recipe

“Don’t Feed the Monkey” is a twist on an espresso martini that will give you a sweet energy boost to enjoy Hong Kong nightlife.

A top reason to travel to Hong Kong is for the wonderful food and drinks. From Michelin starred restaurants to cool rooftop bars, there are lots of places to go out and fun places to have happy hour. One of our favorite spots is located in trendy SoHo. Aberdeen Street Social serves up British food with flair from Michelin-star Chef Jason Atherton. They also have cool cocktails.

While filming for our Hong Kong PBS TV episodes, I had drinks with Nicholas Botternill-Tomkinson, who filled me in on Hong Kong’s nightlife scene. I asked him to make a cocktail that spoke of Hong Kong– something that resonated like the city itself and below is the result.

“Don’t Feed the Monkey” is a twist on an espresso martini with spiced rum, peanut butter, caramel and vanilla– all the sugary goodness to keep you going through the night and some nuts to keep your monkey happy.

Don't Feed the Monkey Cocktail with a side of nuts.

Don’t Feed the Monkey Cocktail with a side of nuts.

Quintessential Hong Kong Cocktail Recipe: “Don’t Feed the Monkey”

Glass: Coupette

Method: Add all ingredients into a shaker tin. Add cold hard ice and shake extremely well. Then double strain into a chilled coupette glass.

Ice: None in glass.

Ingredients: 1.5 oz peanut butter spiced rum, 1 oz vanilla simple syrup, 1/3 oz strong brew coffee or espresso.

Garnish: Dusting of coco powder and a sprinkle of ground peanut, not forgetting the cornet of monkey nuts.

Vanilla Simple Syrup
1 part granulated sugar to 1 part of water. Place in a sauce pan and heat on a low setting. Add 2/3 vanilla pods (vanilla extract or essence will do in pinch). Stir the contents of the sauce pan for 8-10 minutes till completely dissolved. Decant into a clean jar or bottle. This can be stored in your refrigerator for one month.

Peanut Butter Spiced Rum

Place spiced rum (we use Ron Zacapa 28 anos) into a freezer bag. Per bottle, add half a jar of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy). Seal the bag and place it into a simmering pan of water (ideally 55 degrees) for 30 minutes. Once this time is up, take out the bag and place in a freezer for 24 hours. Next strain the contents via coffee filter paper or muslin cloth. Transfer into a clean bottle or the original rum bottle. Can keep for 1 month at room temperature.

Enjoy, but just remember that this cocktail packs a punch and includes caffeine, so you may want to drink it on a night when you’re staying up late or exploring a cool place like Hong Kong.

Don't Feed the Monkey as snapped from above

Don’t Feed the Monkey as snapped from above

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Travels with Darley is a travel TV series broadcast on PBS stations and on digital networks, including the AOL On Network. Host Darley Newman of "Equitrekking" fame joins locals to showcase the top food, culture and adventure attractions in the USA and around the globe. is the companion site with travel guides, videos and information so viewers can recreate the adventures seen on the series and beyond.

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