Many bar concepts have come and gone throughout the annals of Beijing’s tumultuous nightlife history. Now, Chocolate & Milk has arrived on the scene offering a fresh take on some classic Beijing bar staples, complete with an enormous triangle-shaped back bar, possibly only the second ever to grace Sanlitun.
An inconspicuous push-button sliding door reveals a cozy and warmly-lit modernist-meets-malt-shop interior, with a spacious hardwood bar facing a few Picasso replicas on the opposite wall.
Chocolate & Milk’s spirits selection focuses on gin and whisky. The bar holds an exceptional array of surprisingly well-priced, independently bottled Scotch whiskies (with an assortment of single malts and bourbons for the unadventurous as well). One could come here time and time again and never have the same spirit twice – a great option for the insatiable spirits geek.
The bar owner, Wayne, however, has refused to simply rest on the laurels of his well-curated spirits list. Chocolate & Milk has plenty of mixology chops as well. A rotary evaporator and centrifuge are displayed proudly behind the bar, where they are tastefully employed in the making of the bar’s original creations. The cocktail menu — with drinks priced between RMB80-95 — is well balanced, unique and creative, featuring both molecular mixology and traditional Chinese ingredients.
We start with the Dark Times (RMB80), a frothy mix of gin, pu’er tea, cranberry juice, homemade dark beer syrup and egg white. With every sip, it’s earthy and beautifully balanced with a rich texture, and a pleasantly subtle marriage of the funky notes found in both fermented tea and stout.
After that, we are recommended the Centrifuge-Bloody Mary (RMB95). While we usually don’t advocate drinking a Bloody Mary after 2pm, the clarified tomato juice gives a light and refreshing body to a typically thick and heavy drink. The drink is crisp and spicy, a modern masterpiece that looks like a glass of Chardonnay topped with celery foam.
Overall, Chocolate & Milk is a welcome addition to the Sanlitun bar scene. It hosts an outstanding and well-priced alternative whisky selection, as well as a creatively experimental yet not overly pretentious cocktail menu, deeming it definitely worth a visit.
[Images via Hawk Lincoln/That's]