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Sipping on Summer Cocktails

Kentucky Royale @ The Alchemist

“Summer drinks have to be boozy. If you make them too light, people drink them too fast,” says Ryan Noreiks, the charming barman at Alchemist. After throwing down the alcohol content gauntlet, the reigning champion of China’s Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender competition mixed up a winner: the Kentucky Royale. A potent concoction of Pimm’s and bourbon, the Royale is topped up with champagne to give it that regal title – and then there’s that signature splash of Noreiks’ secret ingredient to complete the one-two punch he’s already famous for.

RMB 80. Block 32, Sinan Mansions, 45 Sinan Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu. Tel: 6426 0660

Tropical Bourbon Smash @ CVRVE

For a twist on a oldie-but-goodie, Pablo Toledo (one of the CVRVE’s three head bartenders) tweaked the recipe of a ‘whisky smash’ invented circa 1862 to give this classic cocktail the resistance it needs to stand up to Shanghai’s summer sun. He starts with 12 (count ‘em!) mint leaves, then pours in a jigger of Old Fitzgerald’s 1849. The formidable 90 proof label is tamed with a double puree of mango and passion fruit and one more sprig of mint on top, making the drink as refreshing as it is intoxicating.

The Tropical Bourbon Smash is available during CVRVE's 'Rush Hour' happy hour for RMB 38. Shanghai Centre, #206, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu. Tel: 6289 8298

Yu Garden @ Flair

The highest al fresco bar in China, Flair has one of the best seats in the house across from the Pearl Tower – and that seat gets even sweeter when you have a Yu Garden in hand. A celebration of fresh summer fruit, the light libation mixes Absolut Raspberry vodka with raspberry puree and syrup, then a sip of fruit tea to even out all those berry tastes. Don’t forget to call ahead! A seat in the clouds is hard to come by and tables on the terrace go fast.

RMB 90 + 15%. 58F, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong, 8 Shiji Da Dao, near Lujiazui Huan Lu. Tel: 2020 1778

Carafina @ Lola

They say to never judge a cocktail just by looking at it. Then again most drinks don’t come in vase like Lola’s impressive Carafina. Bombay Sapphire gin shaken with fresh squeezed lemon juice, a splash of Gosling’s ginger ale and a zesty mint and elderflower garnish ensures the oversized tipple lives up to its formidable first impression. They’ve even crystal cut mashed ice to fill the drop up to the vase’s tall brim. The result is a slick and smooth sip that is light in colour but heavy on flavour.

RMB 70. Unit 413, Building 4, 507 Yongjia Lu, near Yueyang Lu. Tel: 6074 0015


Campari & Basil Smash @ el Cóctel

The changing of seasons calls for a toast, and there’s nothing better to throw out the old and welcome the new than el Coctel’s summer menu. Head bartender and Ginza veteran, Mune Harada uses only the freshest pink grapefruit tenders and its juices to stir up the Campari & Basil Smash. An Italian-style cocktail, the drink mixes herbal-infused bitter Campari with sweet, vanilla-based Galliano, all alongside a garden of basil that will wake your taste buds up to the flavours of the season. Bittersweet and fresh, nothing screams summer louder than the Smash.

RMB 78. 2F, 47 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu. Tel: 6433 6511

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