Beijing’s Apothecary Bar Will Heal All That Ails You
If you're looking to take a break from the buzz of Beijing, simply slip in to the Apothecary Bar in Beijing’s Chaoyang District. The sleek modern interior may be a bit misleading at first, as mixologist Leon Lee and his cocktail crew, definitively tip their glass to a slower, more thoughtful bespoke era of spirits and cocktails. So, if you are looking for your bar staff to burn and churn, so you can chug and run, this may not be the spot for you. Bar geeks consider this your liquid nirvana.
Similar to centuries ago when your pharmacist was your go to for aches and ailments, consider the Apothecary your Beijing bar pharmacist. So, take your time and leave the modern pace behind. Tipple back and relax, as Lee and crew have the pitch perfect potion to get you back on track.
The bar menu reads more like a book than a menu and is broken down in to several sections from champagne to house, new classics rare finds, sours, muddled drinks and juleps, French-Italian with whisky or brandy and gin or vodka, Campari driven cocktails, loners or rebels, sparkling sours and highballs.
But before you even dip in to the elixirs, Apothecary lays out their ethos first and foremost. The bar and the menu are based on research where they “spend an obscene amount of time scouring for cocktail intelligence.” This involves rigorous testing. So, trust that your tipple isn’t a one off experiment.
Ice is no accident. They believe in pre-prohibition era hand-chipped ice off of blocks frozen in 15-below Celsius freezers using water from a quadruple-pass filtration system. Geeks rejoice!
Of course they believe in fresh all natural ingredients, not as easy to access in Beijing as it is in the U.S. and elsewhere, but they typically source the freshest produce possible from as far away as Sichuan and Xinjiang.
In true apothecary-like fashion they believe in tinctures, infusions, macerations, syrups and tonics and if they could distill their own spirits, trust that they would.
Constant change is essential as they are constantly reviving arcane ingredients and creating new modern concoctions. Last, civilized imbibing is essential. This may beckon back to a bygone era, but it is far from a saloon from the Wild West. So, sit down, take a seat and let’s get back to the booze.
Let’s experiment with a few of their signature house drinks. If looking to turn up the heat, tip back their Bell Pepper Tequila sour made with bell pepper-infused El Jimador Blanco tequila, black pepper cane syrup, lime juice and Sichuan peppercorn kaffir lime bitters. For a sweeter slant dip in to Chocolate City, a variation of the Manhattan made with chocolate in the raw, Valrhona cocoa nib-macerated Havana Club 7 Year rum, Aperol, Grand Marnier, cherry vanilla bitters and an orange twist.
House favorite and very apothecary savvy is the Zacapa Sazerac, which provides a sensual spectrum of flavors from nose to finish with Ron Zacapa 23 YO rum, Angostura bitters, house-made aromatic bitters, Bitter Truth Xocolat bitters, Versinthe absinthe, cane sugar syrup and an orange twist. Bliss!
Hunker down in to each section of the boozy book a la bar menu as each section and each and every individual drink has a long and storied spirited tale to tell. You will leave educated, aroused and healed of all ails.
Now you are ready to get back to the busy streets.
Apothecary Bar, 3/F, Nali Patio, 81 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District, Shanghai, China