Mixologist Chanel Adams On Candour, A New Bar Set To Open On Peel Street
How did you get into the food and beverage industry?
I started working at banquets and events while studying law at the University of Richmond in Virginia. After graduation, I worked for a telecommunications company but soon realised offices were not for me. A friend convinced me to join Founding Farmers, a group of farmer-owned sustainable restaurants that offered an intensive month-long training programme for new bartenders.
What brought you to Hong Kong?
While working at Barmini by José Andrés [in Washington DC], I was mentored by cocktail innovator Miguel Lancha. He used to talk about travelling for work, which resonated with me. At the time, I wanted to move to Peru to be in a place that had nice produce and a culture that was close to my own [Adams’ mother is Bolivian]. That desire manifested slightly differently when an opportunity presented itself to work in Hong Kong alongside May Chow to open Happy Paradise.
What led to you consulting for Candour?
After opening Happy Paradise, I opened PDT in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental. I then became commercial director for Merchants of Pleasure while beverage consulting for Double Shot by Cupping Room.
I was introduced to Nelson Htoo and Elin Fu in January. They were about to launch Common Abode, a new restaurant group with two projects, [coffee shop] Hjem and Candour. Candour hit close to home with the cocktail concept surrounding hip-hop. Nelson and I both love hip-hop and this felt like a great opportunity to create my ode to it.
What can you tell us about Candour?
It will be the go-to for those who want to step into a space where they can spend the rest of their night sitting back or dancing to a live DJ, all the while sipping on great cocktails that won’t break the bank.
How did you create the drinks menu?
I did a lot of research into hip-hop. My cocktails pay tribute to certain artists and songs, and the menu is based on an album track listing, so you can sip your drink while listening to the song it was inspired by. The ingredients used also tie into the song or artist the cocktail was named after. For example, Runnin’, after the 21 Savage and Metro Boomin song, is a strawberry and rhubarb Scotch whisky sour. The rapper was born in London and moved to Atlanta when he was young. Strawberry picking is a popular pastime in the spring in Atlanta and London is famous for its rhubarb desserts.
What are some of the other cocktails?
Hip-hop has had many “queens” who have shaped the genre as much as men have. Icy Grl is my tribute to women in the game through its presentation and ingredients. It has a gorgeous colour that will catch the eye of anyone in a bar or club. The Chronic is the most conceptual cocktail on the menu and is my tribute to Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre. The Cannon is my favourite drink because I love a good martini.
What sets Candour apart from other bars?
It’s one of the few places to have struck the perfect balance between bar and lounge. The food is just as good as the drinks thanks to chef Karisa Cheque’s creative flair. We had so much fun creating this menu.
What’s next for you?
I am working on a new project called Carbon opening later in the year. It will be a 8,800 sq ft lifestyle venue that will combine wellness, sustainability, food culture and live entertainment under one roof in Central.