Kerry Hotel Beijing and Centro’s Cocktails Beckon the Senses
The Hong Kong based Shangri-La hotel group recently launched a lifestyle brand to add to their luxury portfolio called The Kerry Hotels. The brand’s first two properties premiered in China’s key cities in Beijing and Shanghai with the Beijing property conveniently located in the third ring in the diplomatic, financial and commercial center.
Upon arrival the signature Kerry, a la Shangri-La scent, immediately yet seamlessly awakens yet soothes a weary traveler. It is a welcome scent in to any Shangri-La or Kerry prop.
The stunning chandeliers that the Shangri-La brand is known for are prominently placed in Kerry’s contemporary lobby and common areas. Coupled with cutting edge Asian art throughout, it is pleasing to the eye.
After a pleasant check in to Kerry’s club floor, dip in to their expansive Olympic style pool, sauna and plunge pool. It provide the right touch and that relaxed feeling you were hoping for.
Experience the cuisine with a taste at the Kerry Kitchen. Drop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner for a feast of over 100 signature and international dishes. It’s easy to see why locals make Kerry Kitchen a neighborhood favorite. Complement the cuisine at Kerry's award winning bar Centro, which has one of the best bar menus in Beijing.
Asian cities are a few steps behind their western cocktail counterparts, but there are a few bars in Beijing that are staying in step with the global spirit scene. Centro is one of those cocktails bars.
The extensive bar menus consist of 60 pages of beverage beauties. The cocktail section of the menu alone has a long list of Classics, which include Manhattan, Mint Julep, Sazerac, Negroni, and Old Fashion.
Centro’s champagne cocktail list consists of the classic champagne cocktail alongside the strawberry bellini and the white peach bellini made with champagne, white each puree and mint leaves; the Titanic with champagne, kirsch, cherry brandy, brown sugar cube, rosemary and the status made with champagne, mint leaves vodka, white crème de menthe and fresh mint.
Their martini list went in several different directions from the espresso to white chocolate to vegetable and an absinthe martini made with basil vodka, absinthe liqueur, aloe vera juice and star anise.
They have what they call their signatures, their high volume cocktails; the Caipirihna, Cosmopolitan and Asia’s favorite, the Mojito. It’s typically the most popular pour in any bar in Asia.
According to locals, also big on the list for the local ladies are the pretty and pink drinks. As the cocktail culture is still relatively new, the look of a glamorous glass goes a long way in a status savvy Beijing bar, but Centro tends to attract much more serious sippers. This is the bar that James Bond would drink in if in Beijing. So, liquid looks alone are far from the only cocktail cred needed for selecting a drink at Centro.
I am always drawn to signature spirits that celebrate local flavors. Centro’s Star Creations did not disappoint. A few favored were the Sichuan tini made with chili vodka, grand marnier, carrot juice, lemon juice, lemon grass syrup, orange juice, fresh chile, orange slice and sprinkled with black pepper. It’s a spicy elixir for those a enjoy savory spirit.
The avidya made with absinthe liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup, lime and anise is a booze forward beverage while the sexy mild with scotch whisky, drambuie, lemon juice, simple syrup and cherry is a great direction to head in if looking to dip in to dark spirits.
On top of the cocktails, Centro’s wine and spirits list was equally extensive with old and new world wines, including Chilean and Washington wines and top shelf spirits with a long list of whiskies and cognacs.
As I savored my last inspired sip, I absorbed the Bond like ambiance while the band began to make magic in the background. The music sexily seeped in to the scene and in to me, arousing yet another sense…
Kerry Hotel Bijing - No 1 Guanghua Road, Beijing, China 100020
Images by Karen Loftus