668 10th Avenue, New York, NY , 10036, United States
Tel: +1 (212) 920-4770
Website: Not supplied
Door: Open door
Style: Cocktail bar
Price guide: Middling
Mexican-inspired drinks, peppers, and mezcal-based concoctions seem to be all the rage in New York at the moment, and Añejo has thrown its hat into this particular ring. The bar and restaurant in Hell's Kitchen has a great selection of tequilas and mezcals, as you'd expect, but is also one of the only places where I've seen sotol on the menu. Sotol has been described as "tequila's northern cousin" - most of it is from Chihuahua - and it's a spirit distilled from the Desert Spoon plant, a kind of wild agave. The reposado we tried was sweet, light, and very smooth, with nutty molasses, herb, and citrus notes. It would probably disappear in a cocktail, but is a very interesting tipple on its own.
Añejo is dark, reasonably noisy, and convivial on the Tuesday night that I visited; its comfortably wide bar pleasingly cluttered with candles, flowers in small pots, and copies of the cocktail menu in small ornate gilt frames. Exposed brick walls lit by Edison bulbs (apparently required in most if not all new NYC bars) clash amusingly with lurid paintings on the back wall depicting agave plants at sunset.
The bar serves its wide array of tequilas and mezcals straight, accompanied by a lime, a small snack, and a shot of homemade sangrita. The bar also makes its own mole bitters, as well as batching and kegging its margaritas so they can be dispensed them from a tap. One interestingly creative drink was the El Diablo Ahumado, with joven mezcal, crème de cassis, jalapeño, lemon, and ginger beer: a marvel of balance. The Blood and Smoke was also notable for its incredibly intense mezcal and sherry-based spin on a Blood and Sand.