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Cover: Shaken and stirred

09Jun 12


CransomaBeijing is probably the most exciting city I’ve ever visited. After travelling halfway around the world –literally- I spent the first two days not knowing what was going on. It was probably the jet lag. Since I was doing consulting for a construction company, there was always entertainment mixed in with work. One evening, we were chauffeured to a night club called Suzie Wong in the Chaoyang district. This is where I got my first taste of a Beijing classic: the Cransoma cocktail.

According to history, this tipple was concocted for the first time back in the early 1950s, in the Emergency Room Bar in Beijing. By “first time”, I mean the modern version of the cocktail because lychee liqueur, the key ingredient to a Cransoma, is a beverage which has been used for over 2,000 years by the Asian culture for a variety of purposes.

The lychee nut is a rare, subtropical Asian fruit similar in shape to a strawberry, with a red, bumpy outer shell that is about 3 centimetres in diameter. The shell protects the sticky, white fruit which is used to make the liqueur. It has a sweet, juicy flavour and aroma which is distinct from any other fruit you might have smelt. According to the Chinese, it is a symbol of love and romance because of its red, heart-shaped shell. (Also used to make a perfect love cocktail.)

The other main ingredient to a Cransoma is cranberry vodka. Although frowned upon by vodka puritans, it gives cocktails a wonderful fruity aftertaste, yet maintains the sting of the original flavour.

The Cransoma is a sweet, though refreshing, cocktail which has become a classic throughout Asia. While in Beijing, I asked how popular it was, and the answer I got was pretty amusing: “If Carrie Bradshaw lived in Beijing, she and her friends would drink Cransomas instead of Cosmopolitans”.


  • 35cl Tonic water
  • 1cl Apple juice
  • 2cl Strawberry liqueur
  • 3cl Lychee liqueur
  • 2cl Cranberry Vodka
  • 1 lychee to garnish

How to make it:
1. Pour the strawberry liqueur, cranberry vodka, lychee liqueur and apple juice into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes.
2. Shake for 45 seconds.
3. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top it off with tonic water and add lychee nut for garnish.

Time: 3 minutes

Makes: 1 cocktail

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