Night Talk: Tour
What: A chic, new cocktail bar in the upand-coming United Valley complex
Where: United Valley, Rm. E104, 462 Changle Lu, near Shanxi Nan Lu. Tel: 6075 5821
Why: For carefully crafted cocktails paired with delicious, miniature bites
With indoor, outdoor and bar adjacent seating, this intimate bar is the perfect date spot, or an ideal location for a cosy evening with friends. The small size of the venue means that there is ample opportunity for guests to interact with the knowledgeable bar tenders, helping everyone pick the perfect cocktail for the evening.
A rotating range of cocktails are on offer, and a list of the specials arrive at the table printed on edible paper. Although, after hearing stories, we initially thought that this concept was gimmicky, we soon became converts to the idea, happily ripping up the rice paper and dipping it in a selection of condiments as we waited for the drinks to arrive. Another selling point about ordering a cocktail here is that each comes paired with a surprise snack.
Standout drinks include Citrus Paradise (RMB 85), made with white rum, fresh grapefruit and lime juice, homemade coconut syrup, egg white and angostura bitters, served with vanilla ice cream. Bartender, Mack Ross, let us in on the secret that our ice cream was dusted with crunchy sweetened coconut meat, which had been left over when making the drink’s syrup, and roasted in the oven until crispy.
For those looking for a more savoury experience, plump for the Pata Negra (RMB 95), with iberico ham fatwashed bourbon, sugar and angostura bitters, served with a couple of slices of iberico ham. The fat-washing process is laborious, and involves cooking solid fat down into a liquid and adding it to a bottle of bourbon. At the bar, they allow this concoction to sit at room temperature for two days before putting it in the freezer where the fat re-solidifies and the bourbon is strained out. As a result, the taste of the ham truly permeates the drink, and the extra fatty slices resting on the side add to taste sensation.
A lighter, yet still savoury, drink is the Greek Ok (RMB 85), made with dry gin, homemade cucumber syrup, fresh lemon juice and soda. It is served with cucumber, feta cheese and black pepper.
Guests can also sample from a flight of whisky from international, high-end brands, which makes for an educational and entertaining experience. Other spirits and house pours are also on offer, but honestly, go here for the cocktails and bites.