With an array of bars, taverns, pubs and saloons to choose from, one picks each based of the feel of the night. You tuck into a dive bar for a relaxed atmosphere and a whiskey bar for a taste of subtle sophistication. However, Top Ten Wine and Whiskey in Dongcheng offers a surprisingly relaxed but smart feel for those looking for a sip of whiskey.
This cigar and whiskey bar is nestled in the heart of Dongcheng, and is not obvious until you see it. The smoky atmosphere and wall of whiskey offers a plethora of options to unwind for the night.
Top Ten’s award-winning bartender, Frost, delighted our taste buds with a short array of his favorites and our choices. Low on false flair and high on artistry, Frost defined the role of the modern mixologist, donning a flower print shirt and island-style straw hat to commence our service.
The lead-off hitter was Frost’s recommendation, the Ardbeg An Oa. Poured back-handed and straight up, this golden single malt was smoky-scented with an after-burn to singe the lungs. Not my choice for a starter, but as a whiskey sipper, who am I to question a cocktail specialist?
On deck for round two was Chivas Regal Mizunara, named after its mizunara oak cask, which gives a lighter nuttier taste rich in vanilla and peach. This was a calmer whisky one could sip all afternoon.
About that time, I noticed the bar’s mid-upper shelf was inhabited by my current two favorite Scotch brands, all ages of the Macallan and Balvenie families fully represented, but we carried on with the Chivas Regal Mizunara as our base for a delicious cocktail known as Harmony, that is similar to a honey highball.
The nightcap was a true whiskey cocktail, and what Frost called I Love U Very Matcha. This combination of whiskey and bitters offered something extra before bedtime. While innocently sweet and delicious, this drink was sneaky. It was like sipping a soda with a prize-fighter’s punch.
Before Frost jets to Japan for an international mixology competition, head to Top Ten for a whiskey and cigar, and enjoy a couple of rounds.
Address: No. 26, New World Garden Yujingtai, Dongcheng East Road