A spacious lounge bar in Central specialising in mezcal, Mexico's answer to whisky and cognac.
Central's On Lan Street is home to some of the crown jewels of Hong Kong's gastronomic scene. Gems like Kashiwaya, Lai Bun Fu, Arcane and On Dining reside here, each boasting plenty of dedicated fans. So this sets the bar fairly high for the newest watering hole on the block, Mezcalito, which brings the spirit-du-jour, mezcal, to Hong Kong as its star player. Mexico's answer to whisky and cognac, which is made from agave plants that are native to the country, has been catching fire around the world in recent years, so we head over to the new bar to see what all the fuss is about.
Mezcalito is spacious and comfortable, decked out with low-slung couches, tables and floor-to-ceiling windows that open up the 27th floor room. Bearing in mind mezcal's unique smokiness, we read the cocktail menu first, intending to ease ourselves in. We first choose the Paloma ($108), a mixture of mezcal, elderflower, agave nectar and grapefruit. The spirit's signature peatiness and smoke flavours are barely detectable as the nectar and grapefruit pair smartly, leaving the drink incredibly balanced and, thankfully, incredibly safe as an easy sip. Encouraged, we then decide to try mezcal by itself. The house selection, Alipús ($98), is the perfect initiation, especially as it's distilled in Oaxaca, Mexico, the spirit's motherland. Served in a sake glass and intended to be sipped along with a salted orange wedge, we're told that this is among the milder mezcals. It immediately reminds us of Islay whisky. The complex and smoky flavours evolve into a pleasant floral finish.
Mezcal is a fairly unexplored spirit in Hong Kong but its aggressive flavour is worth tasting if you haven't done so before. Yes, it's a misunderstood tipple, so Mezcalito, a pioneer and perhaps ahead of its time, is welcome indeed. For anyone who wants to ease themselves into the Mexican spirit, this is a great place to start.
27/F, 18 On Lan St, Central