In what almost seems a lifetime ago I was lucky enough to meet Li Lei who owned True North Cabin in the Jianwai Soho area. He had a small shop at the bottom of Building 17 where he kept some wonderful fresh water aquariums. It was there that I helped him create a cocktail menu and develop a fusion liquor program. I was able to go back and see my friend and wow - times have changed in only 20 months. Now he has an extensive collection of Japanese whiskey. Like everything else, he was obsessed with serving it perfectly. So now the tables were turned and he taught me much about not only the Japanese whiskey, but also some very interesting methods for serving ice.
For my birthday he poured me some Yamazaki 18 year, and it was unlike anything else I have ever tried.
If you want to visit somewhere off the beaten path in Beijing where you can be treated well by a very smart host, True North Cabin, Building 17, Jianwai SOHO is the place to try. Li Lei is a great guy and he is fluent in Chinese, English and Japanese. The cocktails are very good, and the company can't be beat.