Drinks Recipes

PS40’s Lunar Eclipse cocktail

This nutty and sweet cocktail is a colourful way to welcome the new Lunar New Year.

Photo: Kristina Soljo

Kristina Soljo

Back in 2019, PS40 owner Michael Chiem overhauled the entire cocktail selection at his esteemed Sydney CBD bar and introduced a series of mixed drinks inspired by festivals across the world. The list included the likes of the Dark Mofo – a fizzy, chilled mulled wine of sorts – as well as a clarified beetroot juice number with dark rum and vermouth honouring Hanami, Japan’s annual cherry blossom viewing celebration.

Perhaps the most captivating of all these was the Lunar New Year, an intricate blend of red bean, pandan leaf, whisky and Cognac with a kaleidoscopic nutty-sweet complexity. “I based the drink around nian gao, the traditional red bean dessert commonly served around the New Year that features the same spices, pandan leaf and dried citrus peel,” says Chiem.

Here, Chiem welcomes the Year of the Rabbit by taking a similar but more refreshed approach, ditching the red bean in favour of fragrant mandarin, and trading the duo of brown spirits for bourbon. “Bourbon is a very complementary choice,” he says. “The tannins and natural vanilla spices bring a lot to the drink.”


Spice syrup:

  • 2 tbsp whole cloves

  • 2 tbsp whole star anise

Lunar Eclipse:

  • 300ml water

  • 300 gm caster sugar

  • 50ml bourbon

  • 20ml mandarin juice, freshly squeezed

  • 15ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 10 ml spice syrup

  • ice, to serve

  • mandarin wedge and pandan leaf, to garnish

How to make a Lunar Eclipse cocktail this Lunar New Year

To make spice syrup, add 2 tbsp whole cloves and 2 tbsp whole star anise to a dry saucepan and toast over low heat until lightly fragrant. Add 300ml water, bring to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Strain the liquid, weigh it, then add an equal weight of caster sugar and stir to dissolve. In a cocktail shaker, combine 50ml bourbon, 20ml freshly squeezed mandarin juice, 15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice and 10ml spice syrup. Fill the shaker with ice, shake vigorously until well chilled and double strain into a rocks glass full of ice. Garnish with a mandarin wedge and pandan leaf.

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