1.5 oz. lapsang souchong-infused rye whiskey (Rittenhouse)
3/4 oz. chrysanthemum flower syrup
3/4 oz. cherry cardamom shrub
3/4 oz. Amaro (@arbutusdistillery
1/4 oz. Laphroaig Quarter Cask (@laphroaig
3 dashes Grapefruit and Hops bitters (@bittered_sling
Happy Lunar New Year! In celebration, I wanted to create a drink that could convey even a fraction of the excitement that is present in the tradition of Lion Dancing. The resulting cocktail was well-balanced, with the right amount of smoke, spice, and earthy sweetness. Definitely one I'll be remaking. But enough about the cocktail...onto the Lion Dance.
The historical and cultural aspects of Lion Dancing are so extensive, that this post will absolutely fail to do it justice. We'll be touching on just one part of the Lion Dance. As the dancers proceed down the streets, "greens" (usually lettuce) are offered by spectators to the lion The Lion "plucks" the greens from the spectator, and "spits" it back out. This denotes fortune, luck, and starting anew. There's also a bit of wordplay behind this symbolic act, as the pronunciation of "raw vegetables" sounds similar to "creating wealth/richness" (though I know far too little of Cantonese/Mandarin to explain the exact nuances).
The greens are also sometimes placed on a pole or stick, out of reach of the Lion Dancers. It's here that the aspect of martial-arts comes in, as the Lion Dancers complete fantastic feats of strength and dexterity to reach the greens. The greens are often accompanied with a Red Envelope, as a reward for the troupe. The harder the greens are to reach, the bigger the reward should be. I would encourage everyone to check out at least a video of this incredible tradition. If you get the chance to see it in person, even better.