Cantina OK – Mini Mezcal Mecca
Cantina Ok!, a mini-mezcal mecca, a place to spend time and listen to stories from Mexico. A unique little bar concept in the heart of Sydney, and a fantastic example of how the bar scene is growing and also specialising. Specialise and be the best at it. Straight forward and courageous, Cantina OK! brings a new concept to the city.
Hidden in a small alleyway you will find a place the size of a garage dedicated to Agave. The colourful interior and shelves full of mezcal catch the eye. There is room for just a handful of people. I love tiny bars, size doesn’t always matter. Inside a colourful interior concept of pink and violet, wood and walls richly decorated with ceramics and bottles. A real eye-catcher is the canary yellow Nepalese ice carving machine. There is standing room only here, it’s simply too small for chairs. You’re close to the bartender and can get very detailed information about the origin and production of the mezcal served, which comes mainly from small family producers.
“Cantina OK!” is the ideal place to listen to adventurous stories and get inebriated by the spirit of an entire nation.
The idea to open the place came when the trio of owners, Alex Dowd and Jeremy Blackmore, who were already running a Mexican beer bar, and Alex Gilmour, travelled through Mexico. Together they crossed Mexico to taste, document and import the country’s most interesting mezcal. The trio returned with over a hundred bottles from the regions of Oaxaca, Michoacén and Jalisco, as well as the lesser-known varieties Raicilla and Sotol. “We wanted to bring along what we saw in Mexico and present it in our bar,” Gilmour says.
Mezcal has a wide range of flavours, some are really smooth, some stronger, there is earthiness, smoke, and you can taste the sweat of the painstaking work. It is a very romantic spirit with a strong character, handcrafted and made on small family farms in Mexico.
As small as the bar is, the drinks menu is extensive. A 68-page booklet, filled with descriptions of agave distillates mostly from small family farms and difficult to find outside Mexico, helps you to navigate through the selection of spirits. The menu is filled with photos – serving as a beautifully illustrated travel diary of the trio. The cocktails change constantly. As I am a big lover of agave this is a mezcalicious insider’s tip and warmly recommended.
Visit Cantina OK! // Picture were provided by Cantina OK!, all rights are owned by Canina OK!