Searching for the perfect mix

By Xu Lin ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-04-18 09:06:53

Searching for the perfect mix

Chen Shibei from Speaklow Bar in Shanghai. Photo provided to China Daily

Bartender Zhang Chi stands behind a bar counter and pours rum and other ingredients into a shaker. After mixing the cocktail, he begins working on another drink for guests.

"I don't like a nine-to-five job, sitting in an office every day. This job offers me freedom and the motivation to be creative," says Zhang, 27, who works at Fennel Lounge in Shanghai. He has been a bartender for about three years.

Zhang joined the recent China final of Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition. His cocktail-Three days in Thailand-is made using the pungent Tom Yum Kung soup and Bacardi rum. It's the third time he has participated in the competition.

"You can use anything edible in your creations, and can learn from many people such as pastry chefs," he says.

Zhang often dines at restaurants to learn more about cooking and find new ingredients that can be incorporated into his cocktails.

He says it takes time to find suitable ingredients and figure out how to combine them with spirits or liqueurs. Inspirations often come from life. For example, he creates unique cocktails based on his favorite movie character. He used to be a bar waiter at a hotel, making coffee, soft drinks and tea. He decided to give bartending a try after his wife and mother-in-law visited a bar and raved about the cocktail making process and how the bartenders were like gentlemen.

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