Food spot HotBox hides a beautiful secret in its basement: 46 & Mercy is a quirky, eclectic venue with a very distinct vibe and *incredible* Asian-style chicken wings. Reclining on beds with a cocktail in a strangly 80s Scandinavia space while surrounded by quality art, 46 & Mercy was way ahead of the 2016 curve with the big, but well controlled, presence of sherry in their drinks.
A favourite of the evening was being served: the Blessed Thistle brought together Ketel One vodka, Cocchi Americano vermouth washed with smoked pork fat & thyme, sherry vinegar.
Spectacular, everything is taken into consideration here (well, the nose can be a bit strong, if you want to nitpick). A fascinating twist on a vodka Martini, the washing lends to the cocktail a velvety smoothness and ease of drinking, as well as depth and herbaceous quality that goes to well with the floral Ketel One vodka. The sherry vinegar is a little bit of cheeky kick. An ambitious, and very successful, drink.
Next, the Rye Me to the Moon mixes Bulleit rye whiskey, Amontillado sherry, bay leaf syrup, Abbott’s Bitters – The sweet spicy nose of the cocktail opens to the flavours of powerful cherry from the whiskey, immediately after the spice of the bay leaf towers over the simmering softness of the sherry sweetness. In the distance a spicy quinine bitterness sizzles. Certainly more sweet than spicy, this smooth cocktail is a fantastic choice for lovers of an Old Fashioned.
Finally, the Stirred Mercy Brown goes for scotch: Glenmorangie whisky, black tea infused Amatro, Oloroso sherry, sweet vermouth. Now this is fun, with barely a hint of the whisky citrus, the black tea immediately muscles in. Once that dominating tea backs down, the whisky’s orange and citrus is allowed to play along with the dry sherry and the winter spices of the sweet vermouth. Long, balanced, silky. Gorgeous.
The cocktails here at 46 & Mercy definitely shine, but so does the service. Bartenders are swift, conversational, humorous and so much fun – and are very happy to walk you through the menu and chat about the drinks. The Hoodooist chides himself for not hanging out here more often, you definitely want to come by here.
Although, be careful about leaning forward from the reclining chairs!
46 & Mercy
46 Commercial St, Shoreditch,
London E1 6LT