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The Best Winter Cocktails at Shanghai Bars

You can sip a martini any time, but there’s something particularly pleasurable about a cocktail designed for the colder months. Cold weather needn’t mean you take a break from the booze. TKHUNT rounds up nine of our favourite winter contingency drinks from bars across the city.

Red Blood at Lab

Red Blood at Lab

New to town is Lab bartender Allen Hsu Chin who arrives from Taiwan and makes an early impression with his hot, soul-warming cocktails such as the well-crafted Red Blood (68RMB), with orange notes of Grand Marnier teased out by gin and bitter lemon juice leavened with sugar and red wine to add weight and an acidic, tannic character.

Add: Lab, 1093 Wuding Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu Lu

Oriental B&B at Ginseng

Oriental B&B at Ginseng

From his base on Yongkang Lu, Ginseng bartender Max Tang continues to experiment with Chinese botanicals, often to interesting ends. The stand-out from his winter menu, the sturdy, hit-the-spot Oriental B&B (55RMB), features silk tree flower-infused DOM Benedictine and French brandy garnished with dried hawthorn.

Add: Ginseng, 39 Yongkang Lu, near Xiangyang Lu

Rum Hot Toddy at Senator Saloon

Rum Hot Toddy at Senator Saloon

Barkeep David Schroeder continues to keep the city hooked on his Prohibition Era libations at Senator Saloon which shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

This winter he’s created a specials board of warming, cold-weather quaffs including his ace Rum Hot Toddy (68RMB), with a healthy, flu-beating payload of eight-year Bacardi rum, honey, lemon juice, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon.

Rum Hot Toddy at Senator Saloon2

Add: Senator Saloon, 98 Wuyuan Lu, near Wulumuqi Lu

Caramel Espresso Martini at Portman Ritz Carlton

Caramel Espresso Martini at Portman Ritz Carlton

Twenty-one-year-old David Hong is tipped to be the Portman Ritz-Carlton’s next star bartender who finished in the top ten finalists of last year’s Bacardi Legacy competition.

This winter he’s introduced a couple of worthy seasonal pours: the roasty Caramel Espresso Martini (88RMB, plus 15 per cent) is a not-too-sweet pick-me-up: Zacapa 23-year rum does the heavy lifting for Kahlua, caramel syrup and espresso.

Also, the Ritz Blazer (88RMB, plus 15 per cent), a sort of long-form B52, incites the classic, set piece of winter-cocktail bar theatre as Hong pours Hennessy VSOP, Bacardi rum, Kahlua and Baileys from mug to mug and serves in a flaming copper mug. We’re hoping this Martini will make it onto the menu when the Portman launches their Martini Brunch at Tables in the next few weeks.

Add: Ritz Bar Second Floor, Portman Ritz Carlton, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xinkang Lu

Kentucky Coffee at Senator Saloon

Kentucky Coffee at Senator Saloon

Also new at Senator Saloon this winter is the brilliant Kentucky Coffee (68RMB), a straightforward but exacting chill-beater with Maker’s Mark bourbon providing more than enough heat on the back of Kahlua, espresso and cream.

Add: Senator Saloon, 98 Wuyuan Lu, near Wulumuqi Lu

So Sweet at Lab

So Sweet at Lab

The sister drink to Red Blood at Lab, So Sweet (68RMB) is slightly lighter but no less satisfying with Old Fitzgerald bourbon, white Cacao liqueur, rose syrup and milk.

Add: Lab 1093 Wuding Lu, near Jiaozhou Lu Lu

Honeycomb Vanilla at Ginseng

Honeycomb Vanilla at Ginseng

Equally handsome from the Ginseng drinks list is the Honeycomb Vanilla (55RMB), which uses Sailor Jerry rum infused with hand-picked honeycomb from Changbai Mountain tempered with French vanilla liqueur to make a rounded, delicate tipple finished with dried naseberry.

Add: Ginseng, 39 Yongkang Lu, near Xiangyang Lu.

Ginger Martini at House of Roosevelt

Ginger Martini at House of Roosevelt

Come cold season, the House of Roosevelt’s heated, eighth floor atrium offers the classic Pudong skyline without the chill factor.

Barkeep Huc Zhou offers his own version of supercharged Glühwein (80RMB) with Havana three-year, Grand Marnier and merlot combining with orange juice, clove, cinnamon, rosemary and brown sugar. Served cold, but still potent, the whimsical Ginger Martini (80RMB) delivers a brisk, bracing ginger-y kick upfront and on the back via spiced vodka, Grand Marnier, Martini Rosso, lime juice and syrup.

Add: House of Roosevelt, 27 Zhongshan Dong Lu, near Beijing Dong Lu

Nu Triomphe Martini at Bar Rouge

Nu Triomphe Martini2

Bar Rouge has recently appointed a new bar manager. Franceso Moretti’s whimsical, sweet-bitter dessert-style cocktail the Nu Triomphe Martini (260RMB/two) is available from 6-10pm during the bar’s pre-club After Work happy hour.

Cooked up on a gas hob, it’s heavily encumbered with ingredients but somehow works: Hennessy cognac, Baileys and Grand Marnier has a slightly bitter undertow of hazelnut from Frangelico liqueur, which is given a thick, creamy weight from molten Nutella and fresh cream.

Nu Triomphe Martini at Bar Rouge

Add: Bar Rouge, Seventh Floor, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Nanjing Dong Lu

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