Drink(s) of the Week: Three Cocktails to Charm the Year of the Snake
The first night of Chinese New Year begins on Saturday, and while lucky foods like mandarins (to symbolize wealth) and noodles (for longevity and a full life) are traditional, we found three different cocktails to ensure a full year of good luck. Enjoy all three and triple your happiness -- and hopefully not your hangover.
Lou Bustamante The Stone Serpent at M.Y. China
Drink: Stone Serpent
Where: M.Y. China, 845 Market, fourth floor, 580-300
Why: The orange-red cocktail garnished with a golden yellow lemon twist is meant to represent the colors of the red Chinese envelopes, a tradition designed to forgive past grudges and start the year fresh. The Stone Serpent ($11, VSOP Raynal, grapefruit juice, Cointreau, Cherry Heering, Peychauds, ginger, Belfast apple cider) has an almost chocolately quality from the brandy, and plenty of ginger bite. The light float of a San Francisco Chinatown classic, Belfast cider (around since 1848, and sold almost exclusively here), represents the banquets at which it is always served.
Drink: Bitter Bite
Lou Bustamante The Bitter Bite at E&O Asian Kitchen
Where: E&O Asian Kitchen, 314 Sutter, 693-0303
Why: The Bitter Bite ($11, Campari, kumquats, lemon, agave, ginger beer) is bar manager Carlos Yturria's great low-alcohol and refreshing salute to the new year. The ginger beer adds some sweetness and bite, but more importantly tames the bitterness. Loaded with prosperity-symbolizing kumquats, the pleasant bitterness paves the way for the celebratory food off their New Year menu. Here's to your wealth!
Lou Bustamante The Lychee Lunar cocktail
Drink: Lychee Lunar
Where: Brasserie S&P (at the Mandarin Oriental), 222 Sansome, 986-2020
Why: Known for her homemade tonics, bar manager Priscilla Young is featuring a homemade syrup in her drink made with lychee fruit, ginger, spices, and just enough Fresno chile to give the drink a very light layer of heat. The Lychee Lunar ($8, Beefeater gin, Don Q rum, Sensei Lychee Falernum, fresh lemon juice, Blackwell rum, soda water) features one of the most amazing garnishes we've seen in a while: a snake head made from a strawberry with juniper berry eyes and a Fresno chile tongue. Just like a snake, you have to keep an eye on it this deceptively easy-to-drink cocktail or you may feel the bite the next morning.
by Alan Chen
1 ½ oz. Raynal Cognac
¾ oz. Grapefruit juice
½ oz. Cointreau
½ oz. Cherry Herring
2 dashes Peychauds Bitters
3 small pieces of ginger, peeled
Belfast apple cider
Muddle ginger in a mixing glass. Add cognac, grapefruit juice, Cointreau, Cherry Herring, and ice. Shake and strain into an old fashioned glass with fresh ice. Top with cider; garnish with lemon twist.