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The ThirtySix Bar & Co – an ode to the Highball

January 24th 2019

The ThirtySix Bar & Co – an ode to the Highball
The Highball? A cocktail I only heard about for the first time this week when invited to discover newly opened The ThirtySix Bar & Co on Hollywood Road. 
The Highball is a combination of any base spirit and a non-alcoholic mixer, usually soda water, and is said to have been popularized in America in the 1890s by English actor E.J. Ratcliffe but to have also been a popular choice of guests traveling across Europe on luxury trains. 
The ThirtySix Bar & Co is digging into this beautiful heritage and modernizing the Highball using craft-spirits, house-made soda water, small-batch bitters and fresh botanicals.
The place is beautiful, with a slight Art Deco feels to it and a decoration inspired by the carriages of a luxury train. Loving it that it is welcoming (maybe thanks to the few touches of nostalgic Japanese pop culture) and not intimidating at all, even for someone like me who didn’t have a clue what a Highball was. The masterpiece is definitely The Vault, a neon-bathed bottle keep and spirit showcase. The Vault offers fine and rare spirits (either by the bottle or by the shot) allowing guests to access boutique spirits and some of the world’s most sought-after whiskies. 
What about the drink menu? Short but efficient with a series of Highball plus one or two classic elixirs who have been given a modern twist. 

The ThirtySix Bar & Co – an ode to the Highball
Let’s start with the Highballs shall we? A classic but possibly my fav of the day was the Highlander (HKD 140) mixing BenRiach (whisky) 10 Years Old with house-made soda. And I am not a whisky fan at all, actually would usually never order a whisky drink! 

The ThirtySix Bar & Co – an ode to the Highball
Pretty fascinating also to look at the two bartenders (female ones … who run the world?) preparing the cocktails and follow some meticulous steps to craft the best possible Highball. The ice they are using is homemade, using filter water and then hand cut. The whisky is poured on the ice directly, but the soda is poured on side otherwise the soda would freeze the bubbles. Also, they wouldn’t put the lemon zest directly into the drink but just rub it on the glass instead so that you get the nice citrus smell but not the quite bitter taste of the zest. So much attention to details! 
Should we order another Highball? Maybe a less classic one? Terroir (HKD 140) isn’t whisky based but uses St George Terroir Gin from the Californian forest mixed with fresh watermelon juice. 

The ThirtySix Bar & Co – an ode to the Highball
Or you might wanna try El Mismo (HKD 100) featuring Diplomatico Planas Rum and housemade lime zest soda. Quite loving the story behind this one! El mismo is derived from “lo mismo” which in Spanish means “the same”, the story being that in the end of the 19thcentury a group of Americans heard Cuban friends ordered “lo mismo” at the Cosmopolitan Club in Cuba and thought this was the name of the seltzer water and rum cocktail they were drinking. 

The ThirtySix Bar & Co – an ode to the Highball
In the mood for something which mixes more than a spirit and a soft? Not a problem, the menu also features a few classic cocktails with a modern twist. My absolute fav is the B for Mayor’s Boilermaker (HKD 120) with Rebel Yell Kentucky straight bourbon, Becherovka herbal liqueur from Czechoslovakia, thyme syrup, lemon juice and beer foam. Wanna know the little story behind this one too? It’s actually inspired by Antonin Josef Cermak, Chicago’s mayor in the 1930’s and also first ever non-American born mayor, who loved to drink Becherovka herbal liqueur from his native Czechoslovakia and paired it with a beer. Loving it that they don’t actually use beer in the cocktail but only add a beer foam on top, bringing a slight smell of beer to the drink but without any bitterness. And the taste of the thyme syrup is just so yummy! 
Who says you can only find crappy bars around LKF and Central? The ThirtySix Bar & Co is definitely an elegant place and I can’t wait to be back and bring my +1, I already know is going to love it. 

The ThirtySix Bar & Co
2/F, 23 Hollywood Road - Central 


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