Escubac: A natural friend and ally of flavour

Escubac is now being served at Lee Ho Fook. Photo: Carmen Zammit

Escubac is now being served at Lee Ho Fook. Photo: Carmen Zammit

Victor Liong’s “New-style Chinese” restaurant, Lee Ho Fook, has always had a strong wine and food-matching game. The two-page wine list has plenty of old- and new-world labels up to the challenge of negotiating – and enhancing – the hot and numbing flavours that punctuate Liong’s menu.

But Lee Ho Fook’s drinks list also has a tight collection of food-friendly, thirst-quenching cocktails that are worth checking out. One that warrants particular attention is the Escubac Highball that, with its herb, citrus and spice notes, is a natural friend and ally of many Asian flavours.

Escubac is the ancestor of a style of liquor that originated in Tudor England and then seemed to disappear for a century or two. A couple of years ago, the distillers behind London-based Sweetdram decided to resurrect the drink, as an alternative to the tsunami of artisan gin.

Escubac, a relative of gin, is flavoured with 14 botanicals and is excellent mixed with tonic.

What is striking about Escubac is its distinct herbal quality tempered by a black pepper and distinct caraway savouriness, and a restrained sweetness.

At Lee Ho Fook they team Escubac with Fever Tree ginger ale in a highball glass with lots of ice and a fresh lime garnish. Drink it by itself on a hot day but even happier if you team with the dishes at Lee Ho Fook.

Lee Ho Fook

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