It’s easy to think you’ve made a wrong turn somewhere when you arrive at cocktail bar Mabel – on the outside, all you can see is a ‘grilled cheese’ café. But slink through to the back room, perhaps having ordered a toastie (at €8, a worthwhile investment), and you’ll realise you’re at the right address after all: a relaxed, pretence-free speakeasy.
The drinks menu here is extensive and shrewdly curated, placing an accent on rums like Botran 15 Reserva, Bristol Caribbean, Barbancourt 3 Star and Chairman’s Reserve, while also offering a healthy selection of whiskys, mezcal and cachaça. If its secret location wasn’t enough, an air of mystery also pervades the cocktail menu, as offbeat ingredients like geranium cordial, togarashi (a mix of seven different Japanese spices) and grape molasses spice up the understatedly presented mixes.
If you haven’t heard of some of the components, three helpful adjectives are written above each cocktail. ‘Spicy, light, fresh’, for instance, describes the lush Nutty By Nature, packed with flavours as varied as peanut-infused rum, spiced maple syrup and Japanese Genmaicha tea, while ‘Light, fresh, fruity’ rightly accompanies the brilliant Treacle, with its base of Santa Teresa Claro rum, blended with absinthe, mint, apple juice and Calvados.
TRANSLATION: FLORA HUDSON