It’s safe to say that Asia’s cocktail scene has proven to be one to watch over the past few years. Bar industry icon Simon Ford praised the continent’s innovation on the drinks frontier in a 2017 interview for Food Republic, a Singapore branch of New York City outpost Employees Only, whose doors opened in the heart of the city’s buzzing Chinatown district. Additionally, a list of bar industry pros from across the United States (like wife-and-husband duo Micaela Piccolo of Maison Ferrand and Chris Lowder of Proof & Company, Jesse Vida of ATLAS Bar in Singapore, and a significant portion of the Employees Only team, to name a few) have uprooted their entire lives to cross the seas and help develop the local bar industry. So when EO vet and Hey Bartender star Steve Schneider and Angel’s Share alum Shingo Gokan joined forces on a project in Shanghai’s Xintiandi neighborhood, it was bound to bolster an already-booming landscape within the continent’s cocktail frontier.
The Odd Couple is an ‘80s-themed bar, named in honor of the contrasting yet complementary friendship Schneider and Gokan have shared over the last decade, and the pair’s duality is reflected in the bar’s two-part menu. Two iterations of a cocktail list play off of one another, featuring eight pairs of drinks, each inspired by one specific flavor profile and presented in mirrored versions–one from each bartender. It’s a concept that puts forth a refreshing and playful menu approach globally, so it’s only fitting that The Odd Couple should call this spirited destination home.
“Working with Shingo on The Odd Couple has really been an amazing experience for me,” says Schneider. “[My versions of the] drinks exemplify me taking some of what we were known for at EO and adding a bit of an Odd Couple twist to them.” And while working together in such tight proximity could theoretically be trying for any friendship, these two have become even closer throughout the process of opening their own bar together–perhaps the key has been putting their differences in bartending at the forefront. Schneider elaborates: “While I have had success in the past and am perfectly comfortable with my own expertise, Shingo’s addition and insight has been invaluable, and I’ve been using a lot of ingredients which I have never used before.”
Here, we share one of Schneider’s own recipes on the bar’s opening menu for home bartenders from all corners of the globe.
“This is my take on an original EO cocktail, Roselle (gin, hibiscus, lime, and grapefruit juice),” says Schneider. “I swapped grapefruit juice with grapefruit sorbet, which was custom made for us here in Shanghai, but I’ve seen available elsewhere…this gives the drink a silky mouthfeel while giving an appearance almost like that of an egg white, pairing really well with the subtle Campari flavor.”
1.5 oz Gin
.75 oz Hibiscus cordial*
.75 oz Fresh lime juice
.5 oz Campari
1 scoop Grapefruit sorbet
Grapefruit zest (garnish)
Preparation: Combine all liquid ingredients into shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously until well-chilled; strain into coupe and garnish with grapefruit.
Preparation: Bring two parts sugar and one part water to a boil along with a half part of dried hibiscus flowers, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and strain; add a quarter part of vodka and a quarter part of brandy to fortify and store in glass bottle (refrigerated).