Having opened its doors earlier in July, Rosewood Beijing’s MEI lounge has easily become one of the city’s most vibrant venues. Accessible by a private elevator and boasting an exquisite view of the city, the lounge comprises three different bars—a gentlemen’s club-style whiskey bar, another serving a wide selection of fine wine, and a main bar offering an array of cocktails—that guarantee guests a good time, no matter the mood. We chat with Giancarlo Mancino, the seasoned bar and beverage 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 consultant for different bars before, what makes MEI 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. A relaxed but professional service with a twist is what makes MEI special, as it has a strong focus on guests’ needs and strives to be the best. I feel MEI is also truly unique, from its location, fabulous views and variety of venues, entertainment, and the fun and crafty cocktails—to me, MEI has it all.
What’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 seasonal 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, therefore 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.