Enough with the ‘Niu’ year and ox-picious puns. This Chinese New Year, simply give us an elegantly CNY-appropriate bottle of booze and we’ll be as happy as can be. But not just any bottle.
Showing us all exactly how a CNY alcohol release should be like are the following brands. So skip the swill guys, and drink well this coming year of the Ox.
Like the famed herbal tea drink it’s named after, Compendium’s 8 Treasures Gin (S$88/500ml bottle) is made using eight bountiful ingredients – Longjing tea leaves, red dates, dried longans, raisins, chrysanthemums, wolfberries, lotus plumules and tangerine peels – all known to impart a wealth of blessings to your health.
But the uniqueness of this gin doesn’t end there. Its base isn’t a neutral grain spirit like most gins are, but one made in-house using Southeast Asian longan honey. It’s also distilled twice. First to create the honey spirit, then turning it into gin with infusions of juniper and the aforementioned eight ingredients as its botanicals.
Once done, it is then sweetened with rock sugar and aged in French oak barrels to round out the flavours, resulting in an easy sipping gin to be enjoyed with family and friends over a celebratory feast. We can’t think of a more suitable tipple this CNY.
This special gin-based CNY release by cheeky bottled cocktail brand GudSht is made using appropriately festive ingredients the likes of Mandarin orange juice, osmanthus oolong tea, five spice and even gold dust (for that extra prosperous flair).
Get a 300ml bottle for S$30, though we’d recommend just going for the 600ml bottle (S$50) as it’s not only more value for money, but the refreshingly citrusy and fruity drink is bound to run out quickly at gatherings (even though it clocks in at a respectable 18.6% ABV). Just serve it over ice and a slice of orange and you’re golden.
After the successful release of their first seasonal, the Chrysanthemum Mead, back in 2020, the boys behind Lion City Meadery are now back with their second liang teh (herbal tea) inspired brew. This time, it’s an homage to the longan red date tea.
The Longan & Red Dates Mead (S$16/330ml bottle) is made using dried red dates and longans that were specifically graded for aroma and sweetness by Chinese medicinal halls. Expect potent aromatics in this hazy blonde mead that’ll firstly remind you of cheng teng, then hit you with familiar, layered fermented flavours derived from their proprietary blend of honey.
When it comes to gifting, appearances matter, and The Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney has got it right with this limited-edition bottling of their famed Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin. While reminiscent of the lucky fortune cats often seen placed near store cash registers (it’s believed to bring wealth), this exclusive edition is actually inspired by the age-old tradition of a distillery having its own cat to keep unwanted visitors at bay.
Inside the Distillery Cat Bottle (S$99) is the exact same Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin you already know and love. It’s made with 12 botanicals using a copper pot still, eight of which are infused normally while the other four are vapour infused. The spirit gets its name from the gunpowder tea used in the making of this Irish-style gin.
Those looking for something more extravagant, look no further than this limited-edition John Walker & Sons King George V Chinese New Year Edition (S$655) whisky. The design of this special packaging celebrates the Year of the Ox, with bespoke modern artwork that’s inspired by Asian couture, making it an appropriately luxurious gift for whisky (and fashion) lovers.
Inside the box is the sensual and intense King George V blended Scotch, drawn from rare, irreplaceable casks found at the now silent Port Ellen distillery. Every set of this exclusive whisky comes with five red packet booklets too.
About the Author
Dannon Har is the Managing Editor of Spill. Discovering his innate gift for drinking only at a ripe age, he spares no time trying to find more delicious drops to imbibe during his time on Earth. When he’s not minding every detail at Spill, he spends his time concocting luscious libations and sharing them with folks that visit his home bar.