In New York, it was Milk & Honey. In Houston, it was Anvil. On Kulangsu, the next-generation cocktail culture has been shaped by a genuine, hard-working man named Gino, an island native who (in addition to being a star attacker for a semi-pro soccer team) has raised the mixology bar forever. Drinks are serious, but the decor in this dim speakeasy-style haunt is playful–especially the upstairs, whose darts, bric-a-brac furniture, and wainscoting give the place the look of a 1970s rec room repurposed by Brooklyn hipsters.
Gino is a Kulangsu native, but he does speak some English, and more importantly, he’s fluent in the international language of alcohol: just name your base spirit and leave the rest to the artist. Tricked-out cocktails aren’t cheap, but the labor and material costs are extraordinary, whether it’s dry ice, smoking wood shrubs, obscure spirits practically unavailable in China, a perfectly spherical ice cube the size of a baseball, or a Ramos Gin Fizz that needs to be shaken for a full five minutes.
Address: 44 Zhonghua Road, Gulangyu Island, Siming District, Xiamen City, China