Bar review: keep your spirits up in Hong Kong at Central’s Ginger
Blink and you’ll miss it, but this temple of whisky could well be the answer to your drinking prayers, with a selection of Scotch, Japanese, American and more esoteric spirits
The vibe: located in one of Hong Kong’s unique old streets, the sunken level On Wo Lane off Kau U Fong, the entrance to Ginger is so discreet it’s easy to miss – a grey door which blends into the building. The space is small (it fits just 20 people; an upper floor is currently being renovated) but doesn’t feel cramped. Stark bare walls are softened by the glowing colour, from amber to umber, of the whisky bottles set against a metallic gold backing above the bar.
The drinks: Ginger is a temple of whisky. While pride of place goes to Scotland, Japan and the US are also well represented, along with more esoteric offerings from as far afield as India and Tasmania. There’s a small selection of other premium spirits, wines and beers but Ginger takes things seriously and we were told firmly that they don’t serve cocktails.
So whisky it was, apart from a shot of Belvedere vodka (HK$60), kept correctly in the freezer (all too rare in Hong Kong). We tried two sherry-cask-aged single malts from the islands. The Ledaig 18 Years from the Isle of Mull (HK$160) was intensely smoky and peaty on the nose, rich and full in the mouth with hints of dried fruits. The Lagavulin Distillers Edition (HK$180) from Islay was stunning – silky smooth and supremely elegant with a finish that went on forever. Ichiro’s Chichibu is one of Japan’s most collectable brands. Cask strength The Peated (HK$260) had a touch of spice from its bourbon cask ageing, and the addition of two drops of water produced intense aromas of flowers and honey.
Ginger, 12 On Wo Lane, Central. Tel: 2868 0486. Open: Monday to Friday 5pm-midnight