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What to Drink at Jose Andres' China Chilcano

What to Drink at Jose Andres' China Chilcano
If you’ve walked down 7th Street in Penn Quarter anytime in the new year, you’ll have noticed that the gigantic red letters inside Jaleo are no longer the most arresting restaurant decorations on the block. Good thing its being outshined by a new sibling: José Andrés’ new China Chilcano down the street positively radiates with vibrant red shipping crates, funky lighting fixtures and an incredible mural by Peruvian artist, Cecilia Paredes.

But you won’t just come here for the interiors (stunning as they may be) but rather for one of D.C.’s most exciting culinary concepts to pop up in a while: Chifa cuisine, or the fusion of traditional Peruvian food with Chinese culinary traditions brought by immigrants from Guangzhou in the late 19th and 20th centuries. No ordinary “fusion” cuisine, Chifa, as well as the related style of Japanese nikkei, is a wondrous mix of Asian and South American flavors that you’d never dare to mix up in your own kitchen. The creativity extends into their cocktail program and does not disappoint. Here’s what we suggest you try:

Pisco: If you’re a fan of pisco, the South American spirit created by distilling grape wine to a high proof, you’re in luck—China Chilcano has the largest selection in the D.C. area, and Andrés intends to expand the current selection of about 25 types to over 100, eventually.

Pisco Sour: The most popular item, according to the Chilcano bartenders, is the Pisco Sour, a mix of Peruvian pisco, Key lime juice, simple syrup, egg white and Angostura bitters. They whipped up one of the best versions this writer has ever tried, a perfectly light and frothy, sweet and sour wonder.
 

5-Spice Old Fashioned: One of the other most popular cocktails, this is a fun mix of classic and innovative, with a nod to the Chinese influences of the restaurant. Chinese 5-spice is typically made up of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Sichuan peppercorns, and when mixed with rye, make for a spicy and almost savory cocktail.

Déjame Quererte: For something sweet, try this cocktail that embodies the spirit of Chifa. Quebranta Pisco is given an Asian twist with the addition of persimmon and cinnamon.
In addition to the excellent cocktails, you can also order sake by the bottle, wines by the glass and beer from Peru, China and Japan.

China Chilcano is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 AM–11 PM, Friday and Saturday from 11:30 AM–Midnight and Sunday and Monday from 11:30 AM–10 PM.
 
China Chilcano; 418 7th St NW; 202-638-1910

Top Photo via China Chilcano, Bottom Photo via Drink DC


Tags: Cocktails, Food
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