When I was a little girl, my dad used to make bao from scratch. When asked my favorite food in school, “bao!” I’d reply enthusiastically and they’d look back quizzically, for their favorite food was often hot dogs or pizza.
Thankfully, I was raised by parents who were incredible cooks, but sadly I didn’t inherit those genes.
But back to bao: it’s awesome. Why? Because, as a kid, food doesn’t get much better than a ball of bread filled with sweet meat that you can eat with your hands. Am I right?
Nowadays, the meat-filled steamed Chinese buns are more commonplace on restaurant menus. Plus, the Giant Panda at the National Zoo is named Bao Bao—I wonder if he also likes them.
The other night, I was telling this story to my friend Christina over bao buns and craft cocktails—the adult upgrade to childhood favorites is just to add booze.
CopyCat Co. is a slightly hidden cocktail bar, as it’s located upstairs from a takeout Chinese place. It’s an amusing juxtaposition: downstairs, a red-and-white stark Chinese takeout joint with tile floor, and upstairs, a dark, sexy cocktail bar lit with geometric lanterns. There are a few friendly knowledgeable hipsters shaking cocktails behind the bar and several couples on dates.
The food available upstairs is simple, shareable no-fuss Chinese food: choose between bao, skewers, or dumplings. The food options stay simple while the cocktail varieties are fanciful and plentiful. The spot is named CopyCat Co. as the bartenders mimic classic cocktails like Manhattans, martinis, Old Fashioneds, sours, fizzes, and rickeys. These are bartenders who know what they’re doing.
Beyond their repertoire of well-executed classics, the dudes in t-shirts behind the bar at CopyCat Co., shake up some delicious, creative concoctions. On our evening of cocktails, Christina and I sampled the champagne cocktail and the Deluxe fig.
This glorious cocktail was everything I like about a beverage: champagne, fruit, and large. The champagne cobbler is made with muddled lemon, lime, orange, strawberry, and pineapple, a little maraschino, vanilla extract and a glass of champagne. Oh, and vanilla, I love vanilla.
Christina’s cocktail, the Deluxe Fig, had lime, sugar, blackberry, and Mahia, which is a fig spirit. It was muddled with crushed ice and absolutely delicious.