Speakeasy bars in Dongguan are becoming an underground trend, and 96 Spirytus Lounge follows the same basic concept of the usual speakeasy: a hidden oasis for discretion seekers and cocktail fiends. Once you spot the door to the lounge, it is obvious you’re at a bar—a high white brick wall and a luminous sign marked the way. Upon entering, we encountered a dimly lit room with four to five tables and a bar. Not a lot to see here and frankly, not a lot to hear either due to the loud music. As soon as you start making your way up the stairs the noise becomes weaker, until it dissipates completely, and you cross a door to the second floor. Enter, the Lounge. This is where the magic happens.
The bartender will ask what flavors you enjoy the most: sour, sweet, dry and citric are all valid choices. We decided to let the experts do the work and demonstrate a little creative mixology.
First up was the Earl Grey Negroni. Although the composition was equivalent to that of the classic recipe: one-part sweet vermouth, one-part gin and one-part Campari. This Spirytus special lives by its own rules, as the Tanqueray No.10 Gin was previously infused with tea. This added the sweetness and aroma of Earl Grey which allowed for a round yet bold sensation. Poured in a whiskey glass and served over an ice sphere, the Earl Grey Negroni gives a fun twist to this classic cocktail without losing the elegant look of the quintessential aperitif.
Second up was the Coffee Dripped Godfather. All meals must be followed by an equally solid digestive, and you couldn’t ask for more of a digestive than a coffee-infused whiskey. After every lunch, an espresso. After every dinner, a glass of whisky. After a midnight snack, the Coffee Dripped Godfather. Heavy coffee-scented aromas greet you as the glass moves closer to your nose. Seems like a simple drink to make, but the magic with this one happens behind the scenes during the drip process. The details were kept from us, but the basics were disclosed—coffee dripped whiskey.
Last but not least, the Kiwi & Green. Although the name doesn’t seem to say much, it actually says it all. The green drink supports a hefty dose of fresh kiwi and a shot of Tanqueray No.10 Gin. What is meant as an alcoholic drink tasted like a fruit juice, but don’t be fooled. This cocktail defines what is usually known as a “girl’s drink,” hiding its alcoholic notes well and then knocking you on your ass when least expected. 96 Spirytus Lounge is hard to find at a glance but easy to spot if you listen carefully because the music is usually booming.
Address: No.1157, Building 16, Wanda Plaza, Dongcheng