Next week some of Shanghai’s best bars will celebrate Shanghai Cocktail Week. Details appear sketchy but promising. Participating bars will each offer a unique special menu of 50 RMB drinks, available throughout the week. The event is being held to mark World Cocktail Week, a celebration that has been going on for a few years yet has somehow escaped my attention until now. What can I say? Every week is cocktail week at my place. . .
Participating bars include: The Alchemist, The Apartment, Arcade, Fennel Lounge, The Geisha, HoF, Jade on 36 (Pudong Shangri-La), Lost Heaven Lounge (Bund), The Martini Bar (Langham Xintiandi), Otto e Mezzo Bombana, The Public, The Ritz Bar (Portman Ritz-Carlton), Yucca.
Unfortunately there isn’t much info on exactly what different bars have in store. Perhaps this means hitting them all up to find out? Rumor is that The Public will mix up New Orleans inspired drinks, Jade on 36 will offer a cocktail flight charting the evolution of the Martini, and Fennel Lounge will be experimenting with Chinese flavors. My picks for reliably good drinks would be The Public and The Alchemist, with Yucca probably also worth a look. As for the rest, there are a couple of venues I’ve never even heard of, and others I’ve heard of but never tried. Last time I visited HoF it seemed to be a bakery. Who knew they did cocktails too?
Oh, and the occasion being marked? None other than the first printed definition of the word ‘cocktail’, in a New York newspaper on May 6, 1806. A reader had written to the paper to ask what a cocktail was, and further wondered whether over indulgence in this potion might explain the confused political beliefs of Democrats. The editor’s enthusiastic reply was both partisan and precise: “Cock tail, then is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters it is vulgarly called a bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said also, to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because, a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else.“