Blossom Bar

By Molly McDonough   Brookline · Chinese · Cocktail Bar · $$

It’s a tiki haunt with a name that evokes a bouquet, but you won’t find any kitschy tropical wallpaper, paper parasols, or even clay mugs at this Brookline Center spot. With teal and marble accents and hints of silver and gold, the simple surrounds serve as the ideal backdrop for the real eye-catchers—the drinks. Each a mini work of art, these tropical-tinged cocktails are carefully adorned with flashes of color, from a glass festooned with a single basil leaf and lemon rind attached to a mini clothes hanger, to a dark red rim composed of tajín spice and chapulín.

It’s the signature style of mixologist Ran Duan, whose cocktail ventures have infused his parents’ two Sichuan restaurants with a new layer of intrigue. At the family’s original spot in Brookline, Sichuan Garden, Duan has overseen a transformation echoing the speakeasy mansion vibes of The Baldwin Bar, which he first conjured in a revamped room at Sichuan Garden II in Woburn.

This rendition is smaller, though, with a toned-down menu; instead of trekking way out to the ‘burbs for an epic group cocktail and family-style feast, you’re more likely to pop into Blossom Bar after work and sit at the bar with a snack. Fittingly, the drinks—infused with Latin flavors via the influence of Colombian-American bar manager Will Isaza—are destined to pair with the sauciest, savoriest Sichuan cuisine in town. Some stand up to it, like the Palm Viper, a rum-based twist on a Manhattan with all the spice and musk of the pork rib sauce. Others slice through it; the Broken Spanish features a cooling puree of avocado and housemade coconut cream layered with lime and finished with a chapulín rim, making it the perfect antidote to the chili sauce. What’s that—you’ve never heard of chapulín? Relax and sip: This is the kind of place to experiment.

You’ll want a bar seat to fully appreciate the Blossom Bar experience and the ten spots are first-come, first-serve; arrive right when the bar opens around 5 p.m. for the best chances.

Here the Sichuan Garden team eschews the mammoth menu of its Woburn outpost, instead focusing on OG classics. Lovers of American-style Chinese food, however, can find a dedicated section toward the back of the menu.

If you’re more into wine or beer than cocktails, don’t hesitate to ask the bartenders for a pairing recommendation—you might find yourself discovering a surprising combo, like a Rioja Reserva alongside hoisin-doused House Special Eggplant.

Must Haves

  • The avocado toast of cocktails, this smooth sipper almost verges into dessert territory before a crunchy, spicy, smoky chapulín rim reels it back in.

  • With a blend of caramel and molasses flavors, rum and brown butter banana make a tasty team. A simple layer of lime completes the formula for the Blossom’s truest take on tiki.

  • To satisfy classic Manhattan drinkers while reminding them—via herbaceous Cynar and spicy Corazon bitters—that Blossom isn't just any bar.

Fun Fact

Chapulínes—the crunchy critters used to make the smoky rim on your Broken Spanish drink— are a type of grasshopper eaten in Mexico, particularly in Oaxaca, where they’re often toasted along with garlic, lime, and salt.

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