Gong xi fa cai! (Or Kung hei fat choy! in Cantonese). What does that mean? Happy Chinese New Year! CNY falls on Monday February 8 this year (it changes every year depending on the new moon) and this year it’s the Year of the Fire Monkey. In Chinese astrology, each year is associated with a Chinese zodiac animal sign and one the five elements – Gold (Metal), Water, Wood, Fire, or Earth.
Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries with large Chinese populations, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. There are also big CNY celebrations in Western countries such as Australia and America.
Every year Chinese New Year triggers “Chunyun” (spring migration) which is the world’s largest annual human migration, with many Chinese workers heading home for the holidays. Last year the government estimated 3.6 billion people will travel across the country. That boggles my mind!
Oh and see that gorgeous red decoration? It’s a very symbolic Chinese knot decoration, as red is considered the luckiest colour, representing good luck and a prosperous life. My Dad bought it for me in China years and years ago. Thanks Dad!
I wanted to create a recipe to celebrate Chinese New Year and I thought a cocktail would be the perfect way. A drink with green tea as the main component made sense, as green tea originated in China. Plus, it’s delicious and good for you, so this cocktail is basically a health drink, right?
I steeped the fresh mint leaves in the green tea and added freshly squeezed lime, and it was a dangerously drinkable result!
This recipe below is for 1 drink, but you can easily scale it up to as many serves as you want. I personally don’t like sweet cocktails so I skipped the addition of simple syrup or honey, but feel free to add as much or as little as you like.
Green Tea Martini for Chinese New Year
- 30 ml brewed and chilled green tea
- 60 ml vodka
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- A dash of simple syrup or honey to taste
- Mint leaves
- Brew the green tea per the packet's instructions (I just used a tea bag), chop up most of your mint and allow to steep. Transfer the green tea to the fridge to cool down.
- Transfer the measured ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until thoroughly combined.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into your glass, and decorate with a mint leaf.
I’ve also made this cocktail with white rum and gin, which are all equally delicious options. Just use whatever you have lying about the house!
Here’s to a prosperous 2016!