My first brush with the lychee was, thankfully, at the Mandarin Oriental in Boston. Sitting at their elegant bar, with impeccably attired and equally-fine-mannered bartending staff, I indulged in their lychee cocktail. Every now and then, especially during the summer, I’ll veer into the sweet territory, but the Mandarin did it right by not going the sugary route. I can’t recall what exactly was in it, but it was heavenly. Give me a fine hotel bar in Boston and I’m generally a happy camper.
On a recent afternoon, while gazing out the window through the falls of a fountain bamboo, I remembered that lychee drink, and when I saw some lychees on sale I bought a can and concocted this ridiculously simple drink. Mine is far from the fancy libation that the Mandarin so expertly prepared – in fact, it’s almost primitive in its simplicity. I used only gin and a small splash of lychee juice, shook it up with some ice, then strained it into a cocktail glass. On paper, I wasn’t sure about the gin and the sweetness, but in a glass it was sublime. The garnish of lychees is what really adds the fanciness here – and as we all know, the garnish is what makes the drink.Back to Blog