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Hong Kong bar reviews

Bar review: Mezcalito in Central – where mezcal and tequila are the stars

Enjoy the best of Mexican spirits and beers, and original cocktails, served up by professional, knowledgeable staff in this large, comfortable space

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 January, 2017, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 January, 2017, 2:32pm

The vibe: located on a high floor of classy 18 On Lan Street, Mezcalito makes the most of its 2,500 sq ft space and city views. It has comfortable seating and low tables arranged round the edge of the room giving a spacious feel (and leaving the floor clear for Tuesday night dance sessions). Mexican references include the bar’s logo – the iconic Day of the Dead flowered skull loved by tattooists. The lighting is discreet, the colours vivid without being garish, and a blackboard for patrons to exercise their artistic skills is a neat touch.

The drinks: Mezcalito’s impressively extensive list of premium tequila and mezcal, and the professional, knowledgeable staff are a rare opportunity to discover the complexity and diversity these much-maligned drinks can offer. Drinks are served in authentic Mexican style, in shallow ceramic cups accompanied by a slice of orange with spicy salt and a sangrita (fresh tomato juice) chaser. If your idea of drinking tequila is whacking back shots, this isn’t the place for you. These are sipping spirits, which should be savoured the same way as a fine whisky (and mezcal’s natural smokiness will appeal to malt lovers).

After talking with our helpful waiter, who let us taste his recommendations before we made our choice, we started with a couple of joven (young) mezcals. The 8 Viboras Joven (HK$128) was delicate and nicely balanced, the Rufian Joven (HK$158) was more robust and smokier. Moving on to reposado, the difference created by oak aging was noticed straight away – it is richer, smoother and more vibrant. The 8 Viboras Reposado (HK$138) was an elegant step up from the Joven, with sherry-cask like taste. Switching brands, the El Tinieblo Reposado (HK$168) was full-bodied with an intensely smoky aftertaste.

If the idea of sipping neat mezcal or tequila doesn’t grab you, there are plenty of cocktails to choose from, as well as a full range of other spirits and a selection of Mexican beers. The Paloma (HK$138, Mezcal de las Hormigas, elderflower, agave nectar and grapefruit) was sweet and refreshing, with the elderflower marrying nicely with the mezcal.

The verdict: a nicely laid-back spot to chill out and a great way to experience the best of mezcal and tequila.

Mezcalito

27/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, tel: 2668 8444

Open: Mon to Thu 6pm-1am, Fri and Sat 6pm-2am. Happy hour: Mon to Fri 6pm-8pm

While you’re in the area:

Bar review: Mamasita’s Cantina, Central – Cuban bar, Mexican street food

Bar review: Osteria Felice, Central – heaven in a glass, with bespoke martinis

Bar review: J. Boroski in Central – Hong Kong’s bespoke cocktail bar