Shanghai Cocktail


A few weeks back I found a shop here in Shanghai selling Marie Brizard liqueurs. There seems to be a company importing them from Hong Kong into Shantou. Unfortunately the Shanghai store has decided to stop stocking them in favor of Bols. It is hard to understand why they would do this given that Bols is generally crappy and Marie Brizard is generally good, but there you go.

Anyway, having realized Marie Brizard was quality stuff after trying their Apry while in Cambodia I grabbed a few more flavors as soon as I saw it. I picked up crème de cacao, orange curacao and anisette. I also grabbed a bottle of Get 31 peppermint liqueur. I was especially pleased with the anisette because I hadn’t seen this before in Shanghai.

All of the flavors were pretty good when I compared them to Bols. The only slightly strange one was the crème de cacao, which seems to have an odd herbal taste in addition to the chocolate. The Get 31 tasted OK but had a strange sediment in the bottle. I took it back a few days later and exchanged it. Exchanging it was a little funny. I was standing in the front of the shop showing the assistant that my bottle had a sediment while the other bottles did not. There were three of us standing in a line behind the display holding bottles of crème de menthe up to the light and peering into them. A dozen or so pedestrians on Huaihai Rd. stopped to watch the foreigner checking the crème de menthe bottles.  Perhaps they thought the official crème de menthe inspector from France doing a random check.

Later that night I happened to take out the Anisette bottle to show a friend while we were having a drink in Le Garcon Chinois. The Japanese woman behind the bar seemed to have some kind of a sixth sense for anisette. As soon as the bottle came out of its bag she abandoned the drinks she was making at the other end of the bar to ask where I had found anisette in Shanghai. She said she needed it to make a drink called Shanghai. I’d never heard of this drink before, but after she mentioned it to me I did begin to notice that the odd bar in Shanghai has it on their menu, always made with Pernod since anisette is hard to find. Anyway, I eventually got around to making a Shanghai myself.


1 1/2 oz Jamacian rum

1/2 oz lemon juice

1/4 oz anisette

1/4 oz grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

There seems something old fashioned about sweetish but extremely rummy drinks like this one. The anisette adds interest to what is really just a very simple rum punch, and takes it away from being just a sweet and sour type of drink. It is good if you want a very mild aniseed drink.

I made mine with Meyers, but if possible use something more interesting – Appleton Estate should be good.

5 Responses to “Shanghai Cocktail”

  1. Jeffrey D Says:

    Interesting, I’m also a cocktail fan in Shanghai – is it now possible to find Marie Brizard Triple Sec in Shanghai? Granted there’s not as much motivation given that Cointreau is easy to find here, but I’d be curious to have a try.

    Also, one of my biggest problems in Shanghai for making cocktails is finding lime juice. The limes you can find in Shanghai are usually (but not always) packed full of seeds, and with a weird taste that doesn’t really work for cocktails. Of course there’s bottled juices, but those taste bad. Any notes on that?

    Frankly I’m amazed that a personal bar in Shanghai is stocked solid with Sloe Gin fizz, Orange Bitters, et. al – is there some secret source in Shanghai, or does it get carried over in bags on the airplane? And where is this Japanese-lady bar you mention, that sometimes stock’s Gordon’s Sloe Gin?

  2. seamus Says:

    Hi Jeff, I am not in Shanghai right now, and so your envy for the contents of my bar is not justified. Don’t feel envious about the prices though. While the selection in Shanghai may be poor, the prices are far better than New Zealand! I am probably going to be back in Shanghai in a few months though. Catch up for a drink then?

    I believe I did pick up Marie Brizard Triple Sec in Shanghai, but that was over a year ago and I doubt you would find it now. Like I said, the shop that carried it was supposedly on the point of dropping it. If I were you I’d try going down to Grand Gateway mall in Xujiahui, then head up to the 4th(?) floor and check out the liquor shop there. They used to have it. Frankly though, while Marie Brizard is good, Cointreau is better.

    Assuming the shop is still there you might find some interesting things even if the Marie Brizard is gone. It is unlikely to be a wasted trip. Whoever owns that place seems to have a genuine interest in spirits. I even spotted Hendricks gin and Zubrovka in the guy’s personal collection behind the counter.

    I agree with you on the limes, and unfortunately I never found a reliable source. Do you know the Japanese bar called Constellation on Xinle Rd. (just west of Xiangyang Rd.)? If you are a cocktail fan you need to know this place. Mr. Jin, the guy who runs the place, usually has good limes. Maybe ask him where he gets them from?

    The Japanese bar I mentioned in the article above was actually the bar in the restaurant Garcon Chinois (spelling?) on Heng Shan Rd. It used to be a very nice place to have a drink. They never stocked many products, but they did have a few oddities (like sloe gin) and the woman there knew how to make drinks. However, I heard that there was some kind of a problem and they closed down.

    Oh, Constellation has orange bitters by the way (Hermes from Japan) so you can get a proper martini there. My info may be a little out of date, but so far Constellation is easily the best cocktail joint I have found in Shanghai. So you have to get down there if you haven’t already.



  3. Jeffrey D Says:

    Thanks a lot for the information. Constellation is a long walk or a short taxi from where I live, I’ll have to check it out. I actually had a friend in Japan try to scope out Hermes Orange Bitters and they came up short, so I’m curious to try that. And give a mail when you’re around town.

  4. Jeffrey D Says:

    Very coincidentally, earlier today I picked up this week’s SH Magazine, and saw that the Japanese bartender lady from Garcon Chinoise opened a trendy new bar called Kiitos on 127 Yongfu & Fuxing. It got very positive reviews, although the same issue raves on about how drinks like passion fruit and peach margaritas are a good manly cocktail and are made out of “Don Julia” tequila. So I’ll have to judge for myself.

    I couldn’t find the Grand Gateway Mall store, maybe it’s closed.

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