There's this new specialty drinks bar called Capital Spirits that just opened up a few weeks back at 3 Daju Hutong and it's making waves -- great, greenish pukey waves -- because it specializes in one specific type of liquor: baijiu.
They do baijiu. They do baijiu in tasting flights. Baijiu in cocktails. Baijiu in your face. Baijiu all over your clothes. Baijiu in your soul. It's a very interesting concept because baijiu, as a sipping liquor, as a cocktail base, as something to just shoot at leisure, tastes like getting punched in the motherfucking face with a fist made out of human suffering.
That's just a fact.
Baijiu tastes like drinking a vial of your mother's tears. It's awful. It's just fucking awful. Shit gets up on top of you, grinds your face into the ground, and then just sticks with you for days on your back like a horrible Screwtape gremlin.
Getting drunk on baijiu feels like getting suplexed by Hitler into the surface of the sun.
I thought of that line when I was drunk on baijiu. It doesn't make any sense. I don't think. I don't know.
But that's kind of the fun of it, I guess. Its... charm? Its allure, maybe? For the majority of Westerners, it's a real challenging drink. There's two initial reactions to Baijiu: The first shot you have, you either think it's terrible and you never want it again, or the first shot you have, you think it's terrible and, goddammit, you want to try that again. And that's why this Capital Spirits place is a great idea. And it's a really great bar. Even if you hate baijiu, it's kind of exhilarating to be in its orbit every so often and take the opportunity to extend your hatred and lend it nuance. There's so many different varieties of baijiu to hate. AND if you happen to like baijiu, first, go fuck yourself, and then go check this place out.
Capital Spirits is heavy on the atmosphere. It's a one-roomer that looks like this:
It's a really great environment -- sort of that arty, bombed-out Beijing grit. Paint chipping off brick walls, distressed concrete, simple, squat wooden furniture, and flickering candles against bottles of white poison. Just walking in the place, you're instantly hit with that heavy, fruity, intoxicating baijiu humidity. I've been thinking about it all morning, how to describe that swampy, thick, and fruity baijiu atmosphere.
It's like Jollyranchers tumbling around in a nutsack.
Here's the menu:
The first page is baijiu tasting flights, organized from least to most intensive. For the intro flight, it's something similar to shochu, which is manageable enough, and then it quickly descends into that classic baijiu experience: not unlike consuming a catcher's mitt that's holding a hornet's nest.
They've also got an extensive range of baijiu-based cocktails and classic interpretations which run the gamut from creative and deadly to deadly and deadly. This is some of them. I don't remember what they were. One of them was a "crab" something and the bartender flat out warned me not to get it "if you don't know how to drink".
Evidently, I don't know how to drink. Think I'm cool with that.
This is what it looks like when you get a damn lot of the tasting flights. Check it out: This is how Satan plays checkers.
Here's the in-house snake-infused liquor. Checking my notes, it's called "Fuuuuck This Shit".
Speaking of Capital Spirits house creations, they have an in-house still. Looks like it's been taken hostage. They've got this thing tied up in the corner, like it's trying to get away.
They're using it to do something unholy with Yan Jing beer, making something that looks like this and is 60% or something heinous like that.
Here's a plant that's floating in the air. Spent like 10 minutes talking to this thing like, "Yesss. China is ver-ver beautiful. Neee shu Beijinger ren ma? Nee shu Beijingren ma?"
At this point, all my pictures started looking like this...
...so let's wrap it up.
Capital Spirits. Fun place. Great idea. Really nice dudes running it. Fun mix of locals and expats embracing the idea. Prices are really cheap. Like 50rmb cocktails. Tasting flights are cheap cheap. Lots of other booze there if you can't do the baijiu as well, but you should try it out anyways.
Go drink the baijiu. It won't kill you.
Unless it kills you.
Capital Spirits is at 3 Daju Hutong, Dongcheng District. They're open Tuesday to Sunday 8pm 'til midnight. Maybe a bit later on the weekend.