Over the last few years, Ran Duan has been heating up the cocktail scene outside of Boston with his work at The Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden, which is in Woburn. Now, his talent has been recognized on a grander scale with his win at the 2014 national finals of the Bombay Sapphire & USBG Most Imaginative Bartender competition. Next year, he'll head to the international finals to make an attempt for the "World's Most Imaginative Bartender" title.
Duan won the last round of the competition with a cocktail he calls The Monarchy, which includes gin, brown butter fat-washed apple liquor, cardamom tincture, dry ice, and a few other ingredients.
At The Baldwin Bar, Duan and his team change up the cocktail list a couple times a month, offering an array of drinks that are either spirit-driven or citrus-based. (Can't choose? Go with "bartender's choice.") And mai tai lovers will find multiple variations on the classic.
Duan, who is self-taught, picked up an "encyclopedia arsenal of pre-Prohibition cocktails and techniques" by drinking at Boston cocktail hotspots like Eastern Standard and Drink, according to a Boston Magazine profile from earlier this year. He seeks out vintage glassware and decor at places like Brimfield, hand-cuts giant ice blocks, and eventually hopes to open a Boston location, according to the magazine.