Five Cocktails: That Put China on the Menu

01_15_D&D_1Every great country should have a great cocktail. Mexico has its Margarita, Brazil has its caipirinha, and Cuba has its mojito. When thinking of China and cocktails, however, it is hard to think of anything other than the whiskey and green tea that is mixed together in nightclubs.

With the help of Kayla, a local bartender who has won competitions for mixing cocktails and inventing drinks, HERE! went in search of Chinese cocktails and how you can make them yourself.

The Hotpot

01_15_D&D_2This cocktail may look like and share some of the same ingredients as hotpot, but fortunately this cocktail does not taste like a ladle full of soup. The first taste can be a bit of a surprise, but after two or three more sips you will begin to notice the freshness and spicy after-kick.

Just like hotpot, you can vary the amount of spice you use depending on if the drinker is a scaredy cat foreigner or a seasoned veteran local. As a scaredy cat foreigner, I would recommend using half a dried chilli.

Kayla first created The Hotpot during a competition in Guangzhou and the cocktail helped her win first prize and the title of Cointreau Queen. The cocktail may have some unusual ingredients, but when made correctly it sure tastes like a competition winner.


  • Cointreau 50ml
  • Half Dried Chilli
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 2 slices of Lime
  • Tonic Water 60ml
  • 3 drops of Bitters

01_15_D&D_3The Purple Queen

Some of the best cocktails are those that are blended with fruits. Considering China has so many interesting fruits it would make sense to use them in making a cocktail.

The cocktail retains plenty of blueberry flavor to keep those who like a fruity taste happy while it is full of enough alcohol to appease those who only like to drink ‘real drinks.’

The Purple Queen is another invention of Kayla’s, which she created for Singles Bar in Nancheng. The blueberries used in the bar are imported from Dongbei, but we won’t tell anyone if you use the blueberries you can find at the local market.

Purple Queen

  • Rum 45ml
  • 151 Bacardi 15ml
  • Martini Rosso
  • Blueberry Juice 120ml
  • Fresh Lemon Juice 30ml

01_15_D&D_4The Durian

Feeling bullish after finding one fruity cocktail we decided to try to make another using the durian—the spiky, smelly, but ultimately tasty local fruit.

A quick Google search, however, brought up a whole page of results with titles such as Alcohol and Durian: A Deadly Mix. On one hand, there are myths that you can die if alcohol and durian is in your system at the same time, while on the other hand, many bloggers claim to have lived to tell the tale.

Not to be deterred, Kayla looked to recreate the taste of the durian without actually using the deadly fruit. The exotic fruits used instead are mixed together to make something that is close to the original taste, but at least you can enjoy these shots without fear of anything but a perfectly normal and healthy hangover in the morning.


  • Gin 10ml
  • Tequila 10ml
  • Coconut Rum 5ml
  • Crème de Cassis Liqueur 10ml
  • Melon Liqueur 10ml
  • Passion Fruit Juice 5ml
  • Pineapple Syrup 5ml

01_15_D&D_5The Hot and Slutty Ginger

While it is rarely as cold in Dongguan as it is in many other places, the lack of heating can make it feel as cold inside as out. One solution would be to do as the Russians do and just drink lots of vodka. Another, much safer, solution would be to make a warm alcoholic drink.

Named so because the cocktail is an alcoholic version of ginger tea (what else were you thinking?), this warm drink is sure to warm the blood on the coldest of nights (at least by Guangdong standards). So put down that bottle of vodka and instead wrap your hands around a warm mug of the Chinese equivalent of a hot toddy.

Hot & Slutty Ginger

  • Cinnamon Whiskey 20ml
  • Brandy 20ml
  • 2 slices of Ginger
  • Clove
  • Star Anise
  • Sugar
  • Hot Water 100ml

01_15_D&D_6The Baijiu Challenge

Baijiu is that special kind of drink that is both disgusting and potent. The first time I drank it I wrestled a snake charmer in a nightclub. The second time I drank it I fell off a scooter trying to recreate the ‘King of the World’ moment from Titanic. There has yet to be a third.

Kayla may have been mixing drinks for many years, she may have invented a number of cocktails, she may be the winner of competitions, but can she make the undrinkable drinkable? Can she make Baijiu taste good?

Served in the form of a shot rather than a cocktail, the apple juice and passion fruit liquor compliment the Baijiu well and, believe it or not, actually tastes good. All that remains of the Baijiu is the faintest of aftertastes, which opens the question, “What you were so afraid of to begin with?”

Baijiu Challenge

  • Baijiu 30ml
  • Apple Juice 90ml
  • Passion Fruit Liqueur 10ml
  • Macadamia Liqueur 10ml




One Comment

  1. Jim Krugh

    I don’t know how baijiu can taste like anything but poop–actually, poop and alcohol. It is terrible!! I’ll pass.