‘Bubble’? Is this a milk tea spot?
Nope. Bubble began life as a champagne bar, but has since dropped the theme and reinvented itself as a high-end cocktail and whisky saloon.
Sounds flash. So I need a tie…
Wrong again. The cocktails are refined but the atmosphere isn’t snooty at all. The décor is smart but playful; a plush armchair has giant bunny ears sprouting out the back, for Chrissake. But the formidable wall of whisky behind the bar sets out the bar’s modus operandi.
So how many whiskies make up this ‘formidable’ wall?
If there’s a whisky arms race among Beijing bars (which there kind of is), Bubble is winning hands-down – they have over 400 bottles. Sun Quan, the former bartender from Gulou whisky joint Lucky Man (owners of a large arsenal themselves), is commander-in- chief here, and he’s happy to guide you through the drunken malaise and make recommendations.
Will these whisky fans still make me a G&T?
Most certainly. The iPad menu has an extensive selection of standards made to exacting detail. The hot buttered rum (70RMB), stirred with three types of rum and with an extra side of butter, is particularly good. There’s also a ‘secret’ additional menu full of more experimental concoctions, if you want to get freaky.
Do we want to get freaky with you?
You should – this is where things get intense. The rum old fashioned is made with a gizmo that theatrically infuses the rum, cherry liqueur and sweet vermouth with smoke right in the glass (the use of aged Zacapa Rum drives the price to 160RMB). Another drink – so experimental it doesn’t have a name yet – is a refreshing mixture of port and gin, made creamy with Japanese egg whites and fragranced with toasted lavender (90RMB).
So no milk tea then?
By Sean Silbert