Hong Kong Seven: Goes With Chinese

Most Chinese dishes already have a balance of flavors, so it's a challenge to match them with adult beverages. I see diners drinking Tsingtao beer with spicy food, and as far as wine, one might match chicken and broccoli in ginger brown sauce with a Sauvignon Blanc, or--I don't know--help me, Jeremy Parzen.

My lovely wife, after extensive Asian travel, learned to forgo alcohol in favor of Sprite.

While researching cocktails, I read a passing mention that diners in Hong Kong drank Cognac and 7 Up with their meals. With no other information, as to proportions or methods of serving, I simply turned to the basic rule from the King of Cocktails, Dale DeGroff.

When it comes to mixing alcohol and juice or soda, DeGroff follows the 3 to 1 ratio, usually 1½ ounces of liquor to 4½ ounces of soda. It almost always works, in drinks like screwdrivers and Cuba Librés. For a boozier benchmark, I also mixed up a 2 to 1 ratio cocktail, and added ice to both drinks.

The first taste of the 3:1 cocktail was unfamiliar, with an odd taste that I cannot reference to anything else. I wasn't sure I liked it, so I tried the stronger mix, and the Cognac asserted itself over the odd taste.

I waited 5 minutes and tried them again. This time, the dilution from the melting ice removed the odd taste, and I understood the attraction. I tested this mix with chicken and broccoli, Mongolian beef, pork dumplings, then egg rolls. I branched out to other Asian cuisine, such as Japanese food, báhn mì, even Chicken McNuggets with Sweet Chili sauce. Cognac with Seven-Up works.

I had to come up with a name. Hong Kong Seven. Sure, that won't win me a Genius Award, but it fits. To be certain, I mixed Cognac with Sprite, and Cognac with Sierra Mist, but neither worked.

Hong Kong Seven

  • 1½ ounce Cognac (Martell is popular in Hong Kong)
  • 4½ ounces Seven Up

Pour Cognac over ice, stir with a chopstick. Add 7 Up, slowly stir seven times for togetherness, or eight times for prosperity. Garnish with a cherry, and wait a few minutes before drinking.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories