Bold, Bespoke Cocktails at Botanical Basket

By Sophie Steiner, February 10, 2021

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The Place 

Co-owner Eric Almazov (previously of The Fennel Lounge, Seul&SEUL and Barbarian) brought his passion for cocktail making to a new level by opening his own venue, Botanical Basket, on bustling Wuding Lu last year. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

This gin-focused shotgun bar really took off as the weather warmed; the space fits roughly 20 people inside, but doubles in size with the added outdoor area. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

While gin is the key focus – with over 100 gins readily available at any given time – many of the creative cocktails see other spirits, liqueurs and tinctures added, coupled with fat-washing techniques, infusions, sprays and funky garnishes.

The Drinks 

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Reasonably priced for what you get, most cocktails fall in the range of RMB68-78. Not finding what you want on the menu? Not a problem; the bar staff is fully trained and ready to make you a bespoke creation at any given moment.

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Starting with a twist on a classic, the Greek Dropout (RMB78) sees gin infused with dill shaken with French vermouth. Instead of the customary olive juice, this dirty martini gets its brine from pickle juice for a sippable pickleback of sorts – one you will want to savor rather than shoot. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

If a milk punch is on the menu, it should not be overlooked, and the Tea Boozer Milk Punch (RMB78) is no exception. A refreshing blend of creamy yet fruity, grapefruit-peel infused gin is mixed with osmanthus syrup, Oolong milk tea and lemongrass. Stirred and added to a glass garnished with Argentinian mate tea and sweet osmanthus, it’s hard not to drink it down in one gulp. 

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Those with a sweet tooth will appreciate the CC Me Please (RMB68), a gin infused raspberry cocktail with fresh raspberries, kaffir and mint leaves and cinnamon syrup, all topped with an extra glossy green tea xanthum gum foam. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

As an alternative to egg whites, xanthum gum is used in baking as a stabilizer, but it also makes a thick, creamy foam that assumes any additional flavor additives. 

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Japan meets Mexico in the Luchador de Sumo (RMB78), a twist on a Paloma with Japanese flavors. Sip Sip Tequila Blanco is infused with passion fruit and pandan, mixed with fresh grapefruit juice and topped with soda. A wasabi paste and Mexican worm salt line the rim, all garnished with seaweed sheets. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Day drinking isn’t the same without a Bloody Mary, and Botanical Basket’s version comes in the form of the Butcher Kim (RMB68). Korean kimchi is infused into vodka and stirred together with fresh tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Garnished with savory rosemary, this cocktail comes with sliced pickles and a spicy kimchi-topped butter cracker.

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Although the focus is on the drinks, there are bar snacks and light bites available – think mixed nuts, deviled eggs, chipotle chicken wraps, cold cut boards and Spanish olives – prepared by nearby Heat. 

The Vibe 

Given the small space, it only takes a handful of people to make the bar feel lively and crowded, only enhanced by the staffs’ energy that matches the music beats. 

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The location is prime, and as the weather continues to warm and the bay windows are opened, you’ll find us popping in for a cheeky afternoon libation or a post-dinner cocktail. 

Price: RMB70-100
Who’s Going: The Jing’an expat contingency, post-work crowd, friend daters
Good For: Casual meetups, afternoon libations, post-dinner cocktails


See a listing for Botanical Basket. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s]

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