Drinks For the Last Night of Lunar New Year!
From a bartender's perspective, the Lunar New Year is just about as good as holidays get. The Eastern and Central Asian cultural celebrations provide endless inspiration for inventive drink makers. There are a wide variety of regional flavors and ingredients to draw from, as well as brightly colored imagery of dragons, flowers, fruits, and fireworks. And as the Chinese New Year celebration lasts a full fifteen days, it gives ample time to experiment and perfect all manner of boozy concoctions. And so, in that spirit, I hereby present another round of cocktails inspired by the newly-inaugurated Chinese Year Of The Wooden Horse – three new recipes and one extra bonus, just in time for the fifteenth (and final) day of New Year celebrations!
The Pearl River
- 60 ml (2 oz) Bombay Sapphire Gin
- 103 ml (3 1/2 oz) Coconut water
- 30ml (1 oz) Pomegranate juice
- 1/4 tsp Orange Liqueur
- squeeze of Lime
Combine ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, stir well, and strain into highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with slices of lime and starfruit.
(This recipe hinges on the precise proportions of its elements, but it's totally worth the attention to detail – when you get the balance right, it's a light, welcoming, and surprisingly delicate cocktail.)
- 60 ml (2 oz) Vodka, such as Reyka, a medalist in the 2013 NY International Spirits Competition
- 30 ml (1 oz) Plum Wine
- 1/4 tsp. Star Anise Liqueur*
- 1/2 tsp. Pomegranate juice
- 2 slices Pickled ginger
- squeeze of Mandarin orange
Salt the rim of a chilled cocktail glass, and place pickled ginger in the bottom. Combine all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, shake well, and strain into the cocktail glass. Float a shiso leaf on the surface.
*To create the Star Anise Liqueur, combine:
- 1/2 cup Orange Liqueur (I recommend Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao, but Triple Sec will do in a pinch)
- 1/2 cup dried star anise
(This cocktail is named for the official finale of Chinese New Year celebrations, a festival based around food, family reunions, and the lighting of of thousands upon thousands of brightly colored paper lanterns.)
- (60 ml) 2 oz Rye Whiskey, such as Redemption
- (30ml) 1 oz Plum Wine
- 15ml (1/2 oz) Ginger Liqueur
- squeeze of Lime
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add Whiskey, Plum Wine, and Ginger Liqueur. Stir gently to chill, squeeze in lime, and garnish with a slice of mandarin orange.
But that's not all... Just in case you're throwing a blowout Lunar New Year finale party and need to prepare a ridiculous-yet-delicious refreshment for your guests, here's a quick, easy, and spicy bonus shot that will ensure that your evening is a memorable one.
Lunar Firework (serves four)
- 60 ml (2 oz) Anéjo Rum, such as Rhum Clément 6 Year Grand Reserve
- 2 oz. Pineapple juice
- 1/2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
Combine all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass, shake well, strain into glasses, and garnish with a slice of kiwi. Drink, and enjoy the fire that ensues!
So between this and our earlier set of Lunar cocktails, you ought to be well set for your last day of New Year's revelry... Bottoms up, and here's to the year of the Wooden Horse!