The Goodbai Fu Manchu by Phil Tory in Beijing.
When we were challenged to come up with a Chinese baijiu cocktail to celebrate World Baijiu Day, I had to think about it. I was unsure as I’d never toyed with baijiu. Over the years I’d played around with a multitude of ingredients, infusions, reductions and recipes but never anything with baijiu. But, from the very birth of tiki drinks, with Trader Vic, Don the Beachcomber and those that followed in their footsteps, the mission has always been that of carefully mixing exotic ingredients from the far flung corners of the globe and coming up with new and exciting results. So, I felt I had to give baijiu a place at the Bungalow. I settled on a twist on the Mystic Lamp, a dark rum and lychee juice concoction because the lychee is Chinese so should pair with the baijiu and the dark rum is strong enough to stand up to it. I wanted to be true to tiki but also embrace the Chinese elements.
It’s taken from Bob Esmino’s 1962 notebook, when he was bar manager at the Kon-Tiki Ports restaurant at the Sheraton in Chicago. Being from Chicago, I liked the way this was coming together: a Chicago tiki bartender in Beijing, experimenting with exotic ingredients to make a twist on a tiki cocktail created by a Chicago tiki bartender in the early ’60s. After a number of tests with a range of different baijius I finally came across what I believe to be an intimate rapport between tiki and Chinese spirit. The answer was American baijiu. A half ounce (15ml) of Bye Joe Dragon Fire, infused with lychee, dragon fruit and chilli, proved to be the ideal complement to the Mystic Lamp’s key ingredients, resulting in a refreshing, fruity cocktail, with the distinctive titillation of the chilli on the finish. Serving the cocktail in a unique long-moustachioed Fu Manchu mug, garnished with a lemon, lime and a fresh chilli, finalised the tiki homage. The name is simultaneously a nod to the West’s longstanding obsession with the East and a bow to the Chinese penchant for charms and potions intended to shoo away evil (and welcome luck and fortune to the bearer). It’s certainly been good luck for us – it’s staying on the menu.
Goodbai Fu Manchu
45ml Aged Venezuelan rum
30ml Orange juice
30ml Lychee juice
15ml Bye Joe Dragon Fire baijiu
15ml Lime juice
7.5ml Simple syrup
3 Drops almond extract
Mix all ingredients for 30 seconds in a milkshake mixer with a scoop of crushed ice. Pour into a signature Fu Manchu mug and top with crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon and lime wheel and fresh red chilli on a pick.
Phil Tory is head bartender and co-owner of the Tiki Bungalow in Beijing.
This article first appeared in Issue 45 of DRiNK Magazine.