The latest project from the guys behind baiju
bar Capital Spirits
, The Distillery, demonstrates a similar commitment to doing things differently, which is what we’ve come to expect from the creators of ‘the world’s first baijiu
bar’. The second bar in the team’s parish is a marked departure from the flagship, but has wasted no time making a name for itself.
The first thing to say about The Distillery is that it doesn’t serve baijiu (incidentally, Capital Spirits has stopped serving Western spirits). The new digs has its own ethos, too. The high-ceilinged room hosts a more spacious bar, with surplus elbow room, and a long row of low-set tables and bench seating for a score and a half. The second floor mezzanine, overlooking a beautiful, low-lit terracotta roof, makes for a striking backdrop to some strong drinks. The focal point of the place, however, is easily the proud distillery apparatus, a column still, that graces an alcove in the rear.
Behind the bar, deft hands mix up immaculate martinis and Manhattans. If you must, they have some rather outstanding Thomas Henry tonic for a special G&T, but we suggest you go for something stronger.
They stock a barrage of premium vodkas, gins, bourbons, and ryes (40-150RMB), but, as the name suggests, the real draw is the house-made spirits. The gin (90RMB), the bar’s first available in-house spirit, is a heady, full-bodied beast. With a ripe anise bouquet and a tickle of Sichuan peppercorn on the finish, we recommend taking it bone-dry with an onion or twist.
Expect even bigger things to come from The Distillery. We hear tales of a menu collaboration with neighbouring hutong restaurant Mulu
and a house vodka in the coming weeks.
By Nick Gollner