Shanghai: The Alchemist

14 Nov

I’m a lover of artisan cocktail bars (and non-artisan ones when I just need a drink, LOL) so I wasted no time in checking out one of Shanghai’s popular cocktail bars – The Alchemist at Sinan Mansions – on my first night.

The Alchemist markets itself as a “molecular gastro-lounge” that serves “deconstructed cocktails” and uses modern and scientific techniques like foams, liquid nitrogen etc. I read that they also make their own sodas and infusions. There were also pretty exotic and tasty sounding bar snacks on the menu. Ambience was quite good as it was buzzing but not too loud to not hear your date. There was a second floor but the setting seemed more for dining than cocktails.

Cool molecule looking lamp above our seats. Spot the blown light bulb :P

Popcorn with nori and nuts – This complimentary bar snack looked innocuous enough but I later realised that the popcorn was mixed with hua jiao you 花椒油 which is the tongue-numbing agent in Sichuan food!  I’m definitely not a fan of hua jiao you, but I thought this east-meets-west pairing was expert. And addictive.

Coupe de Fruits (Ketel One vodka, amaretto, aperol and freshed pressed strawberries, charged with Alchemist ginger ale, blueberries) – I chose this from the “Sweet & Fruity” section of the menu and it tasted light and summery. Like something you would drink at the beach :) Nice but nothing too wow here. I loved that they are generous with fresh fruits in their cocktails though. If you’re wondering what’s the round black dot in the glass, it’s actually a blueberry (not a bubble tea pearl).

Emerald Tablet (Coriander infused tanqueray gin, Ricard, lime and aloe vera milk; charged with cucumber soda) – This was from the “Sour & Savoury” section though it wasn’t exactly sour. It’s probably an update on a G&T and it tasted strongly of the coriander and cucumber, which I loved. I thought the flavours present here were very clever. By the way, the blue satin sofas we were sitting on (in the background) were SUPER comfortable :)

While I didn’t feel any of the techniques and flavours in my cocktails were particularly “molecular” (there are probably other such cocktails on their menu), the drinks at The Alchemist are definitely a modern take on classic cocktails or their own creations which I appreciate, as I love to be wowed in cocktail bars instead of drinking the same thing everywhere. My next drink for the night would probably have been the Pimm’s Spider (Pimm’s No. 1, Leifman’s Fruitesse beer, cucumber and absinthe ice cream) which sounds AMAZING but a pity we had to call it a night…will definitely be back for more next time!

Price: $-$$ (Both cocktails were 75RMB each)
Location: Sinan Mansions, Block 32, 45 Sinan Lu, near Fuxing Zhong Lu 思南路45号32号楼, 近复兴西路
Telephone: 6426 0660

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