In the waning months of 2019, Houston foodies and Heights locals were treated to two hand roll (temaki) establishments opening blocks from one another. While both are similar concepts, the differences were strong enough to warrant comparisons.
But while Handies Douzo won the early vote, you might want to get thee to Hando for its seven original cocktails and selections of sake and Japanese whiskey. (That's something Handies doesn't have.) Bar lead Jerardo Araujo guided us through a tour of the menu, proving there's a little something for everyone.
First is Hando Clarified Milk Punch, a boozy and sweet concoction that has a three-day clarification process with spirits including rum, mezcal, and cognac. Served up in a rocks glass with grated nutmeg sitting atop and garnished with a tiny umbrella, it is a simple but essential cocktail for Hando.
Little Death might get a bad rap because of its name, but this gin and cognac cocktail mixed with aguafaba (chickpea water and a suitable replacement for egg whites), lemon juice, and lavender extract is fantastically balanced and refreshing.
There's also Paper Crane, a take on the Paper Plane (bourbon, amaro, Aperol, lemon juice) that also has Japanese Toki blended whiskey and yuzu. Mr. Manager is a tiki-ish cocktail of rum, macadamia and banana liqueur, and pineapple and lemon juice. (“Remember, there's always money in the banana stand.”) Ringo is a straightforward cocktail of bourbon, apple brandy, apple spice, and lemon juice, better suited for cooler temperatures. The Highball is fixed up with ice-cold Toki, no frills.
But Hando’s pièce de résistance would have to be Sweet Gin Music, a heartbreak kid of Roku gin, the herbal liqueur Génépy, shishito syrup, lemon juice, and dashes of habanero. It's served in a baller puffer fish ceramic cup.
Hando has a lot going for it, from its crispy hand rolls and smart list of non-hand rolls to onsite parking and—now that you know—some killer cocktails. Give the list a whirl one of these days.