What It Is: More activity in the burgeoning Shankang Li development, but this is its first dedicated cocktail bar. It's small-ish, a little drab, but efficient. This place is designed for two things: gin, and things you mix with gin. Mostly tonic, but as the name suggests, also other things.
Some interesting signatures courtesy of an ex-Candor bartender, like a fancified Gin & Juice — Beefeater, basil, passion fruit, citrus and coconut milk, clarified — and a classic Clover Club with the egg white swapped for protein-rich aquafaba to great effect.
But yeah, gee en tees. An entire page of the two-page menu is dedicated to tiered gin and tonic options; no added frills, just gin (standard Beefeater and Bombay, 58rmb; Crimson Pangolin, Citadelle, 68rmb; Peddlers, Hendrick's, Four Pillars, 78rmb; Sipsmith, Roku, 88rmb; top shelf, 98rmb+) and then tonic (standard Tall Brothers, or "premium mixers" like East Imperial, Fever-Tree, Le Tribute, Pao Yuzu, etc. for an additional 35rmb). They have twice as many gins as I've listed here.
They didn't play any Snoop Dogg while I was there.
First Impressions: Mixed Roku gin with Le Tribute tonic — made by a Spanish gin distillers, which I'd never had before and enjoyed because it comes in a bottle that looks like a 19th century cure for the consumption — and... I mean, it was good? Of course it was good. Not all gin and tonics are made equal, but I know few people who'd pay over 60rmb for a gin-and-tonic and I don't know anyone who'd pay 120rmb. I imagine they're the sort of people that insist on being served a distinctive, unusual stemmed glass so they can broadcast the premiuminality of their drink to the other side of the bar.
But don't let the absurdity of that top-flight gin and tonic combo blind you: Gin & Juice serves really quite excellent drinks in the mostly forgivable 68-78rmb range. Hope that isn't just soft-opening prices: I've had drinks at bars that charge significantly more that weren't as good as the Clover Club I had here for 68rmb. Go during happy hour and you can get a solid Beefeater and tonic (in a stem glass, ooh!) for like 40rmb before dinner in Shankang Li.
Worth a visit if you're a fan of the juniper and waters.
Gin & Juice is located in Shankang Courtyard at 358 Kangding Lu, near Shaanxi Bei Lu / 康定路358号, 近陕西北路.