Welcoming the Year of the Horse with a Sweet Cocktail


The Chinese — or Asian Lunar — New Year begins today, ushering in the year of the horse and a two-week celebration that focuses on family, friends, and luck for the coming year. Celebrants are leaving the year of the snake behind and kicking the zodiac — or Shēngxiào — calendar one notch ahead. The stubborn, energetic horse is said to portend the future year. (Current predictions: prosperity for some and head-butting for others, depending which year you were born.)


A key ingredient to the new year is a local flower, osmanthus, used in sweet cakes, tea, and, of course, cocktails during the annual celebration. The evergreen plant with small multi-color flowers is said to detox the body, and “the pronunciation of this flower in Chinese is the same as ‘precious,’ so it is very auspicious element for the Chinese New Year,” Yiming Wang, owner of China Blue and Café China in New York, told us.

“Osmanthus can be found in many streets in Shanghai and it has a unique and delicate fragrance,” Wang says. Her team has incorporated the apricot-like syrup onto their cocktail menu to ring in the New Year. Stop by China Blue to taste the cocktail, or make it yourself with the recipe below.

Happy Year of the Horse! Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Sweet Osmanthus

1.5 ounce Hangar 1 vodka
0.5 ounce St. Germaine
0.5 ounce Maraschino Liqueur
2 bar spoons of Osmanthus syrup

Shake, serve up, garnish with Osmanthus flowers.