The space is bigger than the former Wukang Lu spot, and, as if his luck couldn't get any better, it also came fully furnished. He's been given free reign to use any of the antiques in the store. It couldn't be truer to its "speakeasy" definition as the historical buidling and decor all hail from the 1920s.
The place is festooned with objects you’d expect to find at your grandparent’s house—Tiffany lampshades, Andrew’s Sisters swing remixes and a clean-coated red painted bar pays homage to hutong-era architecture.
The cocktails only make the place even more endearing. Daniel has retained most of his signatures, adding a dozen or so new drinks to christen the establishment. The Black Forest (RMB95) is Daniel's flavor of the moment, and we can see why. He ages Cynar (a bitter Italian liqueur made from artichokes), mezcal and sherry in oak barrels, resulting in a smoky blend with bittersweet caramel notes that hits your chest like a warm winter remedy.
Another new addition is the Jasmine Huangjiu (RMB85). Served in a Chinese tea cup, the combination of jasmine, vermouth and huangjiu give the drink an intensely herbal quality. It's heady and reminiscent of ginseng. We love it, but it might not be for everybody.
Then, there are the golden oldies. The Trinidad Sour (RMB138) highlights the complexity that a high-end cocktail should. A base of angostura bitters sit on your tongue long after you’ve swallowed, the space surrounding filled with the aroma of cinnamon. Balanced with orgeat, Rittenhouse rye whiskey and fresh lime, it’s nutty, sour, tart, sweet and dry in equal measures.
The Tyrant (RMB108) stands in stark contrast, a drinker’s drink in a neat, heavy weighted, crystal glass. Smoky, peaty and strong, Chivas 12 year and Laphroaig 10 year Scotch make suprisingly silken mix. Mixed with Cynar and Bitter Truth elderflower liqueur, each element comes together for a perfect nightcap.
The Cup of Tea (RMB98) arrives in a porcelain teacup capped with frothy egg white and garnished with a pink rose petal. A generous pour of The Botanist gin lurks beneath Earl Grey tea, while lime juice and rose syrup weave in floral notes. It’s delicate, light, refreshing and adorable.
From presentation to taste, complexity to bold simplicity, Antique is an example of what happens with a talented mixologist behind the bar. Yes, it's expensive, but you're paying for quality.
Our Rating: 4/5 Stars
Address: 44 Sinan Lu (near Gaolan Lu) 思南路44号 (近皋兰路)
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