Archive for the ‘Bars’ Category

Shanghai Cocktail Week: May 7-13

Friday, May 4th, 2012

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. . .


Your Man in Havana: Some Havana Drinking Holes

Monday, July 19th, 2010


Havana’s numerous bars are in many ways all rather similar. All of the places listed here serve Havana Club as the house rum. Few have a decent rum selection besides the basic Havana Club range (i.e. the blanco through to the 7 Años). Those that do offer alternatives tend to do so only at the higher end. Popular top shelf rums include Santiago and Vigia 11 Años, and Havana Club Barrel Proof and 15 Años.


Your Man in Havana: The Daiquiri

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010


The Daiquiri at the Havana Club, straight from the pages of Graham Greene

While in Havana, when I wasn’t drinking Mojitos I could often be found in close proximity to a Daiquiri. I already discussed the Daiquiri in detail here, so there is no need to say too much more. Still, it would be a shame not to share a few observations on how the drink is made in Cuba.


Your Man in Havana: or Stumbling after the Perfect Daiquiri while Trying Not to Spill my Mojito

Friday, March 26th, 2010


Revolutionary decor in Havana’s Coppelia ice-cream parlor

Well over a year after I left the place, I’m finally writing about Cuba. I didn’t stay as long in Cuba as I would have liked. The lack of Internet in Cuba made work, and hence a lengthy stay, difficult. My stay lasted only five or so days, but during that time I devoted myself fully to drinking in the sights – and the rum.

I left Guatemala on a dawn flight, transited in Panama, and was in Havana by early afternoon. From arrival Cuba had its own unique feel. Havana airport was slightly worn, but red painted girders and splashes of yellow made it seem bright and cheerful.


Drinking San Francisco Roundup

Friday, July 25th, 2008



I got hit by the Tales of the Cocktail thing and never got a chance to finish writing up the places I visited for drinks in San Francisco.


On day three I visited the Golden Gate Bridge in the morning. The thing is huge so walking to it like I did is a mistake. You think you will be there in a few minutes, but it ends up taking you forever. The fort that sits below the south end of the bridge was pretty cool, as were all the historic houses I passed on my way there. (more…)

Drinking San Francisco Day 2

Thursday, July 17th, 2008



Internet access has been absolutely horrible so here is a late account of my second day in San Francisco. . .

Today, still in a luggageless state, I did a little tourist stuff then further explored San Francisco’s cocktail and drinking scene.

I had a breakfast of coffee and donuts, listening to a black guy and a Mexican talking about San Francisco in the 60s. The Mexican guy seemed to be high on something or other. Around midday I went to the Asian Art Museum and spent a few hours there. The collection is impressive, but the presentation, labeling and breadth are what make the place stand out. Why does no museum actually located in Asia have a comparably organized display? Some bits of the collection were organized according to key cultural influences (religion and so on), so that exhibits on early Indian Buddhism would lead you on to chronologically later yet derivative Chinese, Indonesian and Thai exhibits. It was an educational way of setting things up. (more…)

Delayed flights, lost luggage and a visit to Bourbon and Branch

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

I am now en-route to Tales of the Cocktail, traveling via San Francisco. I got to San Francisco on Friday after a 24-hour-plus marathon of delayed flights and lost luggage. I checked into a hotel around Union Square, then took a walk over the hill and down to Fishermen’s Wharf. The architecture in San Francisco is great – row after row of cozy looking apartments, and a ton of what I am guessing are early Art-Deco commercial buildings. (more…)

Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

I considered writing the Charlie Chaplin up for Raiders of the Lost Cocktail. I decided not to in the end though. Partly I wanted to write up a drink that combined Lillet with apricot brandy, and partly I was not sure if the Charlie Chaplin qualifies as being ‘lost’. I have occasionally seen the Charlie Chaplin on bar menus. Still, the name of the drink is rather old worldly, as is the use of sloe gin, so I won’t argue with anyone who wants to label it a lost drink.


The one bar where I have drunk a Charlie Chaplin was a little Japanese place in Shanghai. This time the bar in question was not Constellation, but rather the little bar inside the Garcon Chinois restaurant on Hengshan Rd. That bar is much smaller than Constellation, and does not have nearly the same range of spirits, but the cocktails used to be very carefully and expertly made by a Japanese woman who knew exactly what she was doing. (more…)

The Heart of Darkness

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007


There is a club in Phnom Penh called the Heart of Darkness where I spent a couple of memorable evenings back in August. I drank Guinness and Tequila Slammers. The environment was a confused medley of Cambodian elites and their gun toting body guards (the doormen were very selective when searching customer for weapons), local foreign residents, higher class working girls (since the working girls apparently had to pay a fee to get in), and bemused looking tourists. It was lots of fun, but not really a sit-back-and-savor-your-drink type of environment. I have no idea if Heart of Darkness served Martinique rum. I discovered the dry and complex tasting Martinique rums at some other bars in Cambodia, most notably Riverside in Battambang, which gives huge pours of the excellent St. James Ambre for just US$1. (more…)

Trader Vic’s and my Mai Tai

Saturday, February 10th, 2007



Last night I dropped into Trader Vic’s recently opened Shanghai restaurant for a Shanghai Expat hosted cocktail party. The service at Trader Vics is five star, the Polynesian decor takes you a world away from the grime and grind of Shanghai, and the food and drinks are not half bad. However, you can’t help thinking the cocktails could be better. The drinks are by no means bad, but it is depressing to patronize the joint that invented the Mai Tai only to find the great drink a mere shadow of what it could be. (more…)