The Chinese Five-Spice Cocktail Trend

Add Chinese five-spice to your shaker


Made in China

Add Chinese five-spice to your shaker

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Japan's influence on American cocktail culture is well documented. And Thai drinking traditions have recently infiltrated our bars as well.

Now it's China's turn–in the form of the warm, savory flavor of Chinese five-spice.

Familiar to fans of Cantonese duck, this intense mixture typically comprises star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Sichuan peppercorns. It also plays well with the spark of spirits.

Five-spice and lychee nectar give an Asian touch to the Peruvian classic in the Pisco Sour Kuong Tong cocktail at Andina in Portland, Oregon. At Cantina in San Francisco, bartenders infuse agave nectar with five-spice and use it to give smoky warmth to the Five Spice Margarita. Zig Zag Café in Seattle flavors a mixture of rum, lime and vermouth with five-spice in the Bishop Should Go.

At Curio at Harvest in Columbus, Ohio, Travis Owens uses a five-spice syrup to lend earthy depth to the Old Sevillian, an Old-Fashioned variation made with bourbon and marmalade (click here to see the recipe). The bourbon may be from Kentucky and the marmalade from the U.K., but with five-spice in the mix, the drink appeals to palates from around the world.

NEXT STEP: See the Recipe for the Old Sevillian

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