The default alcoholic accompaniment to Chinese food in the U.S. is light beer, plum wine or a sugary cocktail garnished with a paper umbrella. But when Ran Duan in 2009 took over the bar program at his parents’ Boston area restaurant, Sichuan Garden II, the Johnson & Wales grad was determined to do away with routine.
“The food has always been authentic and good,” Duan last year told Boston Magazine. “I just felt it needed something that could elevate and complement the bold flavors.”
Duan created The Baldwin Bar, featuring classic tiki drinks; housemade bitters and hundreds of vintage glasses. The bar quickly became a favorite of local bartenders, and Duan established an international reputation by competing in contests sponsored by Bombay Sapphire and Bacardi Legacy. “I’ve been a US citizen for three years, and I’m going to another two countries to represent the United States,” he last month told The Boston Globe. “I can’t even fathom it.”
The next stop for Duan is Proof. He’s tonight taking his turn behind the bar at 437 King St. The guest shift starts at 7 p.m.
Among the drinks that Duan plans to mix at Proof are a sling made cachcha and passionfruit syrup; a pina colada riff featuring three types of sherry and a pair of cocktails with savory notes, such as sesame oil and dill.
Although much of the mainstream media attention focused on Duan last year concerned a Harvard Business School professor who threatened Sichuan Garden after he was allegedly overcharged $4, the bartender in 2014 also received a Bartender of the Year award from Eater and was named America’s Best Bartender by GQ Magazine.
For more information’s about Duan’s whistle stop, call 793-1422.