THREEDROPS On Garden, situated in Dongcheng, has been making a name for itself as a trendy restaurant/boutique for the last two years. Now, manager Sarah Liang has developed a new concept on the second floor and is striving to make this new name shine on its own. Inside Out Bar is determined to become one of Dongguan’s top night scenes.
Up the stairs, a blue carpeted pool table quickly caught my attention. Behind it, a large array of bottles is reflected on the mahogany bar. For the next two hours, an English-speaking bartender named Champ becomes my mixology adviser. Of the three cocktails submitted for my eager consideration, two are in-house specials and the third is a timeless classic.
The Pharmacist, as I like to imagine it, owes its name to the apothecary-like care that goes into crafting it. It mixes rye whiskey, grapefruit and lemon juices, which is then smoked with dried sage and left under a glass bell long enough for the customers to enjoy the sight. It results in a strong, sour drink with hints of the sage smoke seemingly wafting away as the glass is consumed.
My second tasting is called the Navigator. It includes Bacardi rum, cold brew coffee, almond syrup and black chocolate. I was a bit concerned that the result will turn out to be too rich for my taste, but it turned out to be fresh and well balanced.
Finally, I am presented with a margarita. This Mexican contribution to world heritage needs no introduction. In its purest form, it is composed of tequila, lime juice, triple sec liqueur and usually comes with salt on the rim. Champ lets me know beforehand that it is his personal favorite. His version is perfectly chilled, and the local limes provide an extra boost of sourness.