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Winter warmers, wine women and cheers for garnacha

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-21 07:43

Talk of spring is in the air, but in much of China if you're out for a night on the town, it's still plenty cold outside. Finding a bar serving up hot mulled wine still seems like a pretty good idea.

Fortunately, even as they introduce their new spring menus, bars have kept plenty of warming offerings on offer. Beijing's Tiki bar can still draw a crowd for its flaming volcano bowls; a Q-Mex mulled wine comes topped with a flaming sugar cube soaked in absinthe; the George bar in Parkview Green has a killer hot chocolate with a boozy kick.

But you don't need fire or even a hot drink to make you warm inside, says O'Bar cocktail guru Attila Bailint at the Nuo hotel.

"The secret in cold weather is to find something sweet," he says. "Sugar makes you warm when your body takes it in, even in a cold drink." One of his winter selections also features Asian pear, a traditional Chinese go-to in cold weather.

Another hit of the season: the cumin sour at the capital's hip new Black Moth bar. I wasn't so sure about cumin in a cocktail, but the presentation and flavors are both amazing. Maybe it's because the drink inspires a fantasy of roast lamb leg ...

Winter warmers, wine women and cheers for garnacha

To celebrate the upcoming International Women's Day next month, Swire properties and wine expert Debra Meiburg will present Hong Kong's first Women of Wine Festival on March 10.

Guests can enjoy an exhibition-style, walk-around tasting by a host of female-owned or managed importers showcasing wines from around the world, with a particular focus on wines made by women. During this time, a series of 10-minute pop-up workshops hosted by special guests like sommeliers, chefs, glassware specialists, lifestyle consultants and more will offer practical tips and advice.

Seminars include "Let me introduce you to your tongue", a fun peek at wine tasting like the pros, and "Know your bubbles", a guide to enjoying champagne, both presented by Meiburg. Other events feature Hong Kong-Canadian actress and award-winning winemaker Bernice Liu and Emma Gao, head winemaker and owner at Ningxia's Silver Heights winery.

The events are from 5pm to 9 pm at the HKGCC Chamber Theatre (Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce) - 22/F United Centre, 95 Queensway in the Admiralty district. For more information and tickets for specific events, see

Despite being the most widely planted black grape variety in the world, garnacha (grenache in French) is often overlooked. Because of its great versatility, however, it's a key component of many great blended wines. Recent eagerness to preserve the heritage of traditional grapes has inspired winemakers across several Mediterranean denominations of origins to preserve the star power of this historic grape through single-variety wines that demonstrate both its versatility and quality.

To give the grape a China spotlight, Beijing's TRB Bites and La Sommelier will host a wine brunch on Sunday, pairing five blended and single-variety wines made from this grape with creative European cuisine. The price and location: 480 yuan ($70) plus 10 percent service charge; 95 Donghuamen, Dongcheng district, Beijing. 010-6401-6676.

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