The Hottest Drink At New York’s Coolest Bar
Photographs courtesy of Mr Fong’s
A refreshing cocktail recipe from Chinatown’s hippest new watering hole.
I have a long list, but near the top of it is Mr Fong’s, a neighbourhood bar in depths of Chinatown, named after the legendary realtor who helped the seven co-owner friends find and license the space. The bar, which recently celebrated its first birthday, has quickly become a destination night spot for New York’s cool kids who come for the cheap drinks (no beer is over $7) and stay for the vinyl-only DJs – or vice versa.
New York loves a down-and-dirty dive bar, and at first glance Mr Fong’s looks like one – except with much better cocktails and music. “We wanted to create an unpretentious atmosphere but serve really good drinks using the best products,” says one of the owners, Mr Aisa Blue Shelley, 34.
A large proportion of the fresh produce, herbs and spices that go into their cocktails are sourced from the street market on their doorstep – and many menu items feature Chinese ingredients as a respectful nod to their locale. The house vodka tonic is made with Chinese celery and herbs, while the spicy tequila and watermelon concoction they have crafted for us (below) is made with Szechuan peppercorns and Thai chillis to give it a fiery kick.
This week, Messrs Fong and PORTER have created their own cocktail as co-hosts of a pop-up bar at Fellow Barber on Crosby Street in SoHo for MR PORTER’s New York Block Party. This is what we’ll be drinking and here’s how to make it:
2oz Szechuan pepper-infused tequila3oz watermelon mix1 lime
For the Szechuan pepper-infused tequila:
1 litre blanco tequila (we use Lunazul)3oz whole dried Szechuan peppercorns12 small fresh Thai chillis, roughly diced
For the watermelon mix:
1 quart freshly juiced watermelon4oz clover honey4oz lime juice 5 Thai basil leaves5 kaffir lime leaves
To infuse the tequila, put all the ingredients in a non-reactive container with a tight-fitting lid. After five hours, strain the mixture through a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth. The reserved liquid is your infused tequila. Discard the chillis and peppercorns.
For the watermelon mix, stir all the ingredients together and let it sit overnight.
To serve, pour the tequila and the watermelon mix into a highball glass over ice. Top with a splash of lime juice and garnish with a lime.