Yes, Chinese rice wine does have a rep for being knocked back in China, but in this day and age of craft cocktails, anything with an abv is fair game.
And so Dempsey Road hideaway bar Jiu Zhuang takes up the gauntlet of showcasing Chinese wine's potential for its pungent and potent aromas to play nice with citrus and fruit. To do this, they've enlisted the bartending smarts of Jekyll & Hyde's former mixologist, Jeff Ho, to create two new drinks with savoury Li Chun huang jiu and pungent Shui Jin Fang bai jiu in a series of guest shifts at the intricately decorated space.
JZ #9 Dream ($23), a simple mix of Li Chun, Cointreau and tonic water, brings out the chocolate and raisin notes from the wine, while The Chinese Conspiracy ($23) is a bolder interpretation, allowing Shui Ji Fang's blue cheese-like notes to meld with yuzu juice for a sip that settles into a flavour not unlike soursop. Totally illuminating stuff, but if you don't quite want to scare your tastebuds, there's also the tamer option of the lychee, rose water and honjyozo sake stirred drink called the Secret Garden ($23) to try.
Ho's bar shifts take place every Friday and Saturday evening until the end of May (except May 1), and he's also working with the bar to create a special omakase set that pairs Jiu Zhuang's Chinese tapas with his unique cocktails – watch this space.