We asked three bartenders to craft us specialty cocktails based on the themes of Chinese New Year and Spring Festival. Trust us, these are good.

1: Hanuman Cocktail

Hanuman is the king of the monkeys in Asian lore. Royal but mischievous in nature, this drink crafted by Patrice Cleary of Purple Patch restaurant includes a fiery, mischievous surprise. But perhaps its most stunning feature is a brilliantly bright, edible orchid ensconced in an ice cube. The flower symbolizes friendship, and the drink would be a fabulous one to share with friends.

The Hanuman
1 bird’s eye chili, sliced thin
1 1/2 ounces mango-infused vodka
1/2 ounce mango puree
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 ounce Slivovitz Silver (or another plum brandy)
Scant 1/2 ounce agave nectar

Make it!
Muddle 2-3 (or more, if you like it spicy!) slices of the bird’s eye chili in a shaker.
Add the mango vodka, mango puree, lime juice, plum brandy, agave, and some ice. Cover and shake.
Strain over orchid ice cube into a rocks glass. (Alternatively, top with an orchid if you don’t have a large enough ice cube tray.)
Sip and savor!


2: Five-Spice Monkey Cocktail

This warming cocktail can be made with gin, or slightly adjusted and made with the Chinese liquor baijiu. The Chinese five-spice powder simple syrup is the secret to this drink concocted by bartender Amy Russell-Wolf at Chaplin’s. The recipe for the syrup is simple (see what we did there?): dissolve equal parts sugar into boiling water. Add a half teaspoon of the five-spice powder, let steep for 5 to 10 minutes, and you’re good to go. The fresh citrus from the blood orange adds brightness, and the vibrant color of the blood orange makes for a striking garnish. Ideal for a cozying up on a cold night, this drink is a snap to make and (we think) a joy to drink. 

Five-Spice Monkey
Ingredients: Baijiu version
1 ounce baijiu
1/4 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce Chinese five-spice simple syrup*
1 1/2 ounce fresh blood orange juice

Ingredients: Gin version
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/4 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce Chinese five-spice simple syrup
1 1/2 ounce fresh blood orange juice

Make it!
Add the baiju or gin,lemon juice, Chinese five-spice simple syrup and the blood orange juice into a shaker with ice. Cover and shake.
Strain into a coup glass, or over ice into a rocks glass.
Garnish with a slice of blood orange.
Quaff away!

 *If you don’t have the five-spice powder, you can make some by combining the powdered versions of star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds. 


3: Monkey Gland Cocktail

This variation on a Monkey Gland was created by Robin Miller. Chosen in honor of the Year of the Monkey, credit for the original invention goes to Harry McElhone, who first mixed this at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France. (Fun fact: this is the same bar the first Bloody Mary came from.) Classically made with gin, orange juice, grenadine, and absinthe, Miller provides us a version with Chinese flair.

Monkey Gland, Chinese New Year variation
Ginger Thai basil tincture (made by mixing fresh ginger and Thai basil with a high-proof alcohol, such as vodka, and letting it rest in the refrigerator for a while. Strain before using.)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce jasmine grenadine
1 ounce seasonal moro blood orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed, and keep the peel handy for garnish)
1 ounce Perry’s Tot navy-strength gin (the navy strength is important here as it brings more heat than other types of gin)

Make it!

Shake several drops of the tincture into the glass and add ice. Set aside to chill.
In a shaker mix the lemon juice, jasmine grenadine, blood orange juice, and gin. Add ice, cover, and shake.
Discard ice and tincture mix from glass.
Strain into chilled coup glass, the “classic, more graceful version of the martini glass.”
Garnish with a curled blood-orange peel.