A Drink You Can’t Refuse

He says …

In 2017, when we were living in Changsha, China, I befriended a guy named Wan. Wan took me to some uber cool spots in the city, where he would teach me Mandarin– and the two of us would inevitably end up drinking. One of the coolest spots we “studied” at was a whiskey bar aptly named 105 Lounge, an amazing whiskey bar (enter tones of Jim Morrison). The name, Wan explained, was the address of the bar, coupled with the fact it was a lounge. (Naming businesses and streets in China is a very simple science.) The same company owned a beer bar next door at 106 and (you guessed it) the name of the bar was 106 Beer Bar.

Behind the bar, 105 Lounge had a 30-foot wall that was 15 feet high full of whiskeys from all over the world. Scotland, USA, Korea, China; if a country made a bottle of high-caliber whiskey, these cats had it–the most expensive being a $4,000 bottle, something from Japan.

Wan and I were definitely regulars at this joint and got to know the bartenders. One fateful night I really couldn’t decide what to drink and asked the bartender (Lisa) to make me her favorite drink. She made me the single most delicious glass of heaven I had ever tasted. So good, in fact, that I had the whole bar ordering them by the end of the night.

Picture one very drunk, shaved-headed, 6-foot Canadian dude (bearing a slight resemblance to Vin Diesel–or so the bartenders told me) who speaks very little Mandarin, in the middle of a bar of Chinese patrons, who are getting equally drunk and speak very little English. Needless to say we all had a blast. We ended the night in a quaint little restaurant eating what I can only describe as “deep fried minnows” (delicious, actually) before I was poured into a cab around 5 a.m. and sent back to my hotel.

The elixir that night? A drink called a Godfather. A mix of a local craft whiskey, Amaretto and Lisa’s secret ingredient: frozen black cherries. Do yourself a favor, and when you try this drink for the first time, put your feet up on a leather couch with something amazing playing on vinyl. Alternately, if you are in Changsha, ask Lisa to make you a Changsha Godfather and tell her Vin sent you.

105’s wall of whiskey. Lisa is the blonde in the white shirt and a helluva bartender!

RECIPIES

Changsha Godfather

  • 1.5 oz a local Changsha whiskey resembling a Canadian rye
  • 1/2 oz Amaretto

Add ice and frozen black cherries to a shaker. Pour in liquor and shake for 30 seconds.

Irish Godfather (my new favorite)

  • 1.5 oz Proper 12 or Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Amaretto

Add ice to shaker. Pour in liquor and shake for 30 seconds.

Neat Godfather

  • 1.5 oz your favorite whiskey
  • 1/2 oz Amaretto

No ice, no shaking, straight up.

The awesome thing about the Godfather is that you can experiment with Bourbon, Scotch, or Irish Whiskey and come up with a million flavor profiles. The frozen cherries add an incredible flavor and act as ice cubes without having to water the drink down further with ice.