Behind the wall of an unassuming cigar shop in Colonia Juarez, one finds Handshake Speakeasy. Copper arches frame the backbar and the long, marble bar sits in front like an altar to the cocktail. Amidst these retro environs, bar director Eric Van Beek crafted a thoroughly modern programme. Many of the maestro’s creations look simple enough, but upon sipping, one is treated to an explosion of unexpected flavours. The surprising results are achieved through extensive work in the lab, clarifying juices, creating new syrups and infusing cordials.
The magic is evident in the bar’s bestseller, the Mexi-Thai. The clear drink looks simple, like a Martini. But, the ingredients – coconut-washed tequila, a housemade makrut lime distillate, clarified tomato cordial and basil oil – combine to present an entirely different and delicious flavour. On the more traditional side, the massive spirits list is a collection of rare bottles, many scores of years’ old. All of these bottles are also available mixed into premium cocktails. An all-star staff ensures that navigating these options is a pleasure – like every visit to Handshake.