The Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 2 this year and ushers in the Year of The Tiger. Several operators are offering specialty cocktails to celebrate the Asian holiday.
In New York, chef/owner Salil Mehta’s Wau restaurant, a “back to basics Southeast Asia joint,” has created a Year Of The Tiger signature cocktail, with baijiu, jasmine tea, Sichuan pepper, blood orange and cardamom. Served in a rocks glass with a king cube, the drink is garnished with Sichuan peppercorns, plus, on Lunar New Year’s Eve, a red envelope containing a surprise (gold chocolate coins).
The Xin Nian cocktail at Singapura.
“The Year Of The Tiger is a time of bravery and strength, so welcome the King Of Beasts with the powerful flavors of this cocktail based on baijiu, the traditional spirit to toast to best wishes for the year ahead,” says head barologist/bartender Colin Stevens. “Deliciously in season blood oranges lend their brilliant red hue to the drink, with jasmine tea to boost your energy, Sichuan pepper to stimulate blood flow, and cardamom to ward off illness.”
Another Mehta concept, Singaporean-Southeast Asian inspired beach bar and restaurant Laut Singapura, has the Xin Nian signature cocktail; Xin Nian means “New Year” in Mandarin. It’s made with baijiu, Campari, pineapple and lime, served with ice in a pineapple glass and garnished with a pineapple slice and accompanied by a red envelope on Lunar New Year’s Eve.
“When Nian comes knocking this year, find the courage to give the beast a quick sendoff with this baijiu-based tropical cocktail,” Stevens says. “The mythical showdown of the sage against the monster is reenacted in each cup, wherein traditional Sichuan baijiu battles bitter Campari on a stage of tropical fruits. With the wisdom earned from the long year behind us, and a little liquid courage, you’ll be ready to face any challenge this year may hold.”
Both signature cocktail specials will be available at the respective restaurants throughout the two-week-long Lunar New Year celebration.
On a national level, P.F. Chang’s is celebrating the 2022 Lunar New Year with a limited-time cocktail called the Iwai of the Tiger. It’s made with Mars Iwai 45 Japanese Whisky, elderflower liqueur, green tea agave, lemon, pineapple and fresh mint. The cocktail, which features a coaster with augmented reality technology to bring the spirit of the tiger to life will remain on the menu at P.F. Chang’s more than 300 restaurants through April 19.
Looking for more cocktail ideas for the Lunar New Year? The folks at Japanese whiskey brand Kikori have created a Spicy Yuzu Passionfruit Sour for the occasion, complete with the image of a tiger sprayed into the foam. Here’s the full recipe.
Spicy Yuzu Passionfruit Sour
Keyword Kikori Japanese whiskey, lemon, Passion fruit purée, Yuzuri yuzu liqueur
- 1 ½ oz. Kikori Japanese whiskey
- 1 oz. Yuzuri yuzu liqueur
- 1 oz. Lemon juice
- ½ oz. Passion fruit purée
- 1 Egg white
- ¾ oz. Thai chili honey syrup
- Angostura bitters in a small spray bottle
Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake and strain into a chilled coupe.
Hold a tiger stencil just above the foam on the cocktail and spray bitters to create an image.
For Chili honey syrup, combine ½ cup honey, ½ cup water and 1 small red chili pepper in a small saucepan. Heat until sugar is dissolved; take off heat and let sit for one hour. Strain into a glass container and refrigerate until use.