Tucked away behind a tall, nondescript wall on On Wo Lane is Ginger, a new whisky bar that has taken up residence in the laidback surroundings of Central’s Kau U Fong. This small space is neatly split over two floors. The ground area, where the bar is located, is bare but inviting, even if the exposed concrete walls and wooden furniture are something we’ve seen a hundred times before. Upstairs is a more intimate, loft-like space with cosy leather armchairs.
The bar is two weeks into its soft opening when we visit. A first-time venture by whisky aficionado and critic Tony Leung, the bar’s menu is comprehensive, with an enticing selection of whiskies, cocktails and beers. Leung is highly knowledgeable, as you’d expect of a drinks connoisseur, but rather than come across as snobbish, he’s an enthusiastic and affectionate owner who's there on the night we visit. He recommends that we try some of the whiskies that are currently off-menu and we eagerly follow his advice, selecting the single malt Linkwood 18 years ($180). This dram is distilled using water straight from Millbuies Loch, its texture is crisp and refreshing with distinctive fruity notes. We are also tempted to order the Sendai ($120), a cocktail of Nikka whisky, dry vermouth and pineapple juice. Blended with fresh instead of canned pineapples, the drink is a vibrant without being as tacky as some other fruity summertime cocktails. The taste of whisky is not lost in the mix, but a sweeter blend would do well to abate the bite of the other ingredients.
Overall our evening is enjoyable and the drinks are decent enough, but whisky bars are abundant in this town. As it stands, Ginger lacks the little something extra required to stand out from the crowd. Stephanie Ko
Ginger 12 On Wo Ln, Central; fb.com/barginger.hk.