Having opened its doors earlier in July, Rosewood Beijing’sÂ MEI lounge has easily become one of the city’s most vibrant venues. Accessible byÂ a private elevator and boastingÂ an exquisite view of the city, the lounge comprisesÂ three different barsâ€”a gentlemen’s club-style whiskey bar, another serving a wide selection of fineÂ wine, and a main barÂ offering an array of cocktailsâ€”that guarantee guests a good time, no matter the mood.Â We chat with Giancarlo Mancino, the seasoned bar and beverageÂ consultant whose knowledge and experience in the industry helped make the venue happen, on the things that make MEI special and his staple ingredients to a good cocktail.
You’ve been a consultantÂ for different bars before, what makes MEIÂ special?
All the places where I’ve counseled are special to me as I like to give my best in what I do. However, every now and then I get more excited to be involved in great projects and MEI is certainly one of them. The distinction between the beverage and food departments is what I like most with Rosewood Beijing, as I feel it helps me express my individual concerns and enables me to create a high-standard beverage program.Â A relaxed but professional service with a twist is what makes MEI special, as it has a strong focus on guestsâ€™ needs and strives to be the best. Â I feel MEI is also truly unique, from its location, fabulous views and variety of venues, entertainment, and the fun and crafty cocktailsâ€”to me, MEI has it all.
Whatâ€™s your favorite ingredient to use in a drink?
There are so many to choose from. Obviously, my own Mancino Vermouth is one of them, but I also look for seasonalÂ fresh produce, as different countries have different herbs and fruits available. This always inspires me to create individual cocktails. I also like to use boutique or craft spirits, as I believe they are better than the run-of-the-mill items found everywhere else, thereforeÂ making each cocktail a little different in a better way than the next. I find that, for example, certain gins marry better with certain tonics and so forth. A good gin or great Bourbon whiskey can make all the difference.