Sunday, December 13, 2015

41 Days of Drinks (day 23)

• This is the latest entry in a daily feature that is running through New Year's Eve. To provide it, I combed through all sorts of sources -- my own archives, bar books, distillers' ideas, etc. -- even press releases from breathless PR people seeking to get their clients' products mentioned.

People whose exposure to Chinese restaurants is limited to quick-wok places may not know that cocktails are a major part of modern Chinese dining, here and abroad.

By modern, I'm referring to places with real wine and cocktail lists, well-trained waitstaff, something more intelligent than 500-item menus, and true character and decor beyond the stereotype that too many people have come to equate with being "authentic Chinese."

Here is an Asian take on the iconic Bellini, using a liquor made from lychee (often called a nut, but it actually is a fruit) rather than orange juice. It was created at the (regretably) recently-closed upscale China 1 Antique Restaurant & Lounge in New York City.

BEIJING BELLINI 

3 parts Champagne or dry Italian prosecco
1 part lychee wine or liquor
1 peeled lychee nut

Fill a tall Champagne flute part way with the bubbly, gently add the lychee liquid, and drop a lychee to the bottom of the glass. You also can blend peeled lychees in their own sweet juice and use that with the bubbly.

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