Baijiu Cocktail Week at Opium Soho
The Jade Door, 15-16 Gerrard Street, W1D 6JE
020 7734 7276/www.opiumchinatown.com/
Following its launch last year, Baijiu Cocktail Week will run again this year, coinciding with Chinese New Year 2015. Kicking off on Friday 13th February the festival, will run to Sunday 22nd February, to celebrate the Year of the Goat, which signifies good fortune in all aspects of life.
But what is Baijiu? It’s China’s most popular and traditional drink, a distilled white spirit, brewed using ancient techniques with fermented grains. It’s aromatic, with sweet, citrus and fermented notes and ripe plum aromas and is the largest spirits category globally….I know …I hadn’t heard of it either…
New baijiu cocktails will be served at around 16 exclusive London bars and restaurants including Bó Drake, Casino at The Empire in Leicester Square, Gong at Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London, Hakkasan, Hutong at The Shard, Ping Pong Dim Sum, Salvatore’s Bar at The Playboy Club London plus Spice Market. I was at Opium, a very sexy drinking den channelling the decadence of ’20s Shanghai, that perches in the attics above Chinatown’s mains drag Gerrard St.
Opium’s baijiu cocktail “Born on the Baijiu” was a blend of a sweet oriental fruit juice with the plum wine flavoured alcoholic burn of the baijiu. It’s not the most subtle spirit on the planet but it would stand up to the rigours of Sichuan or Hunanese cuisine admirably.
The Chinese like to sink shots of baijiu in one, saying ‘Yum Sing’ (Cantonese) or ‘Gan Bai’ (Mandarin). You might find that it’s a bit strong for that but it’s definitely worth trying out and any excuse for cocktails is a good one!