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The Year of the Dragon

This year, the Chinese New Year begins on January 23 and lasts for 15 days. It is a celebration in which millions—excuse me—billions of people participate. Let’s make some cocktails that will go well with the festivities. It’s easy; start with something red. Why red? It’s a lucky color in Chinese culture and helps keep the evil spirits—the ethereal, not the alcoholic—at bay. We’ll start with a classic:

Singapore Sling

  • 1.5 oz London dry gin
  • .5 oz cherry liqueur
  • .25 oz Cointreau or triple sec
  • .25 oz Benedictine
  • 4 oz pineapple juice
  • .5 oz lime juice
  • .33 oz grenadine
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters

Combine ingredients into shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice filled Collins glass. Garnish with cherry and slice of pineapple.

The next cocktail is simpler, but calls for Lichido liqueur, a French liqueur made from vodka, lichee and guava essence, Cognac, and white peach juice. If it isn’t available at your local liquor store, you can substitute lychee liqueur. The lychee is a nut that looks like a strawberry, but opening the shell reveals a white, sticky, sweet fruit. It’s been used throughout Asian cultures for millennia.

Red Lotus

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 1.5 oz Lichido (or lychee) liqueur
  • 1 oz. cranberry juice

Combine ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice filled highball glass, and garnish with a lotus flower that you undoubtedly have laying around.

For Asian fusion fans, there’s the Negroni, which is Italian in flavor, but the color of Chinese New Year.

Negroni

  • 1.5 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1.5 oz Campari
  • 1.5 oz London dry gin

Combine ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice filled highball glass, and garnish with an orange wheel.

Of course, we’ve made our own red creations: Hurricane Punch; Bloody Mary/Bloody Maria; and my own Melba’s Cranjack.

As part of Chinese New Year, it is a tradition to make peace and forget all grudges. So get out there, gather your friends together, put a glass in their hands, and wish them all health and happiness!

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