After pretty much acing Liverpool's bar scene, business partners John Ellis and Matt Farrell have brought one of their six bars, El Bandito, to the heart of Shoreditch for a two month pop-up. It’s a specialist spirit bar, stocking 50 types of Tequila and 25 different Mezcals, some of which aren't actually available in the UK. Once you find the bar (located underneath the Drunken Monkey in Shoreditch) prepare to descend into a dimly-lit space with a distinctly Mexican feel; think multicoloured crochet sofas, tonnes of cacti and colourful Mexican tiles.
The cocktails are crafted to enhance the flavour of the mezcals and tequilas and clearly pack a creative punch. Some of these include vegetable based concoctions such as Kale Mezcalarita and Roots of Agave with tequila and carrot juice. Not one for branching out? You can also enjoy more familiar classics like frozen margaritas and Mexican beers.
If you're really into these spirits you can do a 'flight', which includes a tasting of 3 highland tequilas and 3 lowland tequilas or 3 mezcals and 3 tequilas. After an agave background lesson on how they are both made and how they vary in quality, you begin the tastings. With a trusty glass of water on hand, we explored the different types and sampled one of their most expensive and rare mezcals, which is infused with, wait for it, Iberico ham. Whether you’re a tequila and mezcal aficionado or a complete novice, visiting El Bandito is a ultimately unique and boozy experience that London is sure to love this summer.
El Bandito can be found at Victory Mansion in Stoke Newington from 21st May. Cocktail prices vary from £7 to £12 and entry is free.