In an exercise typical of the sometimes painfully cliquish blogosphere, speed typers in China recently raced to list their favorite “thinking blogs,” with the all-too-predictable result that people usually nominated those blogs that nominated them. Yawn. Needless to say, yours truly was not involved. Why would I want to waste my brain cells thinking about other blogs, or making people think about mine, when I can easily waste them at work and be paid for it? Hey, who’s the thinker now, bloggers!?
With that silliness done, let’s turn to a serious topic – China drinking blogs. Frankly, they are as rare as a Beijing cab driver with minty-fresh breath. But some sites at least touch on the topic…
Im@ge-Thief: You know him as PR guy by day, blogger by night and photographer of sea turtles, dolphins and other delicious seafood by vacation. What few realize is that he has a deep understanding of drink and drinking. My two favorite posts are How to Survive a Chinese Drinking Party, which advises toasting weak drinks against strong ones, feigning unconsciousness, and watering down booze, and Unforgivable Bartending Sins, which looks at a pub that fatefully fell between the high and low ends in Beijing. These posts are particularly funny to me because I once witnessed I-Thief stand on his head and guzzle a bottle of rose sparkling wine while wearing nothing but a strategically placed piece of duct tape and a pair of Pikachu slippers. Actually, that hasn’t happened yet, which reminds me – I need to book a plane ticket to Shanghai and pick up a bottle of pink Champagne on the way to the airport…
China Law Blog: Blogger Dan is busy being a legal beagle across six dozen sectors, while regularly reminding us time and again that although he and his partner have over 5,000 years of combined China law practice experience, they STILL will never understand the local culture as well as the, um, locals (which ought to save him a few baijiu headaches, if nothing else). He also regularly covers the world of wine, whiskey and beer. In February, he posted on how whiskey consumption in China was going up. That same month, he posted on getting involved in China’s wine business, which was a nice follow-up to a lengthier October piece, Get Thee to a Winery, Part 1 and Part 2. And in January, he posted about positioning Budweiser as a premium brand (with a shout to the People’s Republic of Blog). Someone buy this man a drink!
Big Trouble in Little China: This story from the Qingdao beer festival is a classic, even if it makes me feel old and the opening is a bit over the top. The site also gets some points for having the Web address, “Whiskey Dragon.” I’m pretty sure this same guy is featured in that’s Beijing’s Closet Freak column and, if so, we might have to call in Kurt Russell – not the one in Big Trouble in Little China, the one in Universal Soldier - to wrestle that tiger tooth away.
Richard Spencer in Beijing: Yes, he writes on some pretty heavy stuff – censorship, North Korea, organ transplants and Gong Li – but amidst all the misery, which is enough to drive a person to drink, he provided a eulogy of sorts for one of Beijing’s longest standing drinking establishments, the John Bull Pub.
And here are some people who should have blogs…
Winopete: His terse, witty newsletter kept Taipei bars-goers up-to-date on the city’s drinking scene years ago and now he’s doing the same for Shanghai. Catch snippets of his newsletter here, here and here.
Frank Li Speaking: Actually, his last name isn’t Li, it’s Siegel, but he’s been in the bar and restaurant business (Frank’s Place, John Bull Pub, Sequoia Cafe, Tim’s Texan BBQ) longer than pretty much anyone else in town and now he’s giving wine a go. If that isn’t enough material for 3,000 words of week, I’ll gladly accept a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir and call it even. Then again, perhaps we can team him up with the “Li” of Henry Li fame (Neo Lounge, Vogue, Public Spaces, Rui Fu). It’d be like Guinness meets Flaming Lamborghini – who wouldn’t read a blog by two such mismatched, intriguing bar icons!
Miss Mojito: This blog would see our mint master, Agent Red Wolf, go from naming a mere eight bars with quality Mojitos to creating a master list of more than 200.
The Honorable Wine Blog of Sir Campbell Thompson: Yet another vino site, this one courtesy of Thompson, former ASC hit man and current Master’s of Wine Marketing candidate, who will share tales not only of sneaking about town to observe the wine-buying habits of Chinese customers, but also how to get more value from a bottle of Champagne by drinking it through a straw (all in the name of his thesis, of course).