The Beijinger sat down for a drink to talk drinks with Nestor Santana, digital director of Midwest Agency Limited.
How old were you when you started drinking?
I had a beer for the first time when I was 17 years old. It was an indelible discovery that baffled me. I thought, “Why would people drink that?” Practice helped.
Who would you most like to go out drinking with?
One of my favorite authors, Neal Stephenson. I have a substantial body of questions for him. I would drink a pilsner.
Where’s the dumbest place you’ve gone drinking?
Panfilov Park in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Four of us ended up with a Kalashnikov trained on us. We left several hundred dollars poorer.
We’re at the bar – what are you having?
Kirin Ichiban or Asahi on draft.
What’s your golden rule of drinking?
If it’s Japanese, it’s probably good.
What’s your favorite drink? Has your favorite drink changed over time?
Currently, it is Anis Del Mono. I don’t know of any place to get it other than Badalona, Spain, and I’m fresh out. My preference has certainly changed over time. For years my favorite whiskey was Jim Beam’s Knob Creek, but that was before I discovered so many other bourbons and of course the world of Irish whiskeys and scotch. As I learned more variety and options, especially throughout my 20s, my favorite has certainly changed. Anis Del Mono couldn’t be further from Knob Creek.
You’re hosting a cocktail party – what are you making?
I prefer source elements, so I would serve Zacapa, preferably XO, or Jameson 12-year on ice. I am selfish with my I.W. Harper.
What’s your idea of a good night out?
Back before 2am, nothing good happens after 2am.
What are your secret watering holes?
I’m going to be chastised for letting the cat out of the bag here, but there should be more curiosity about this place to attract more foreign patronage. Tetsu has excellent drinks and Asahi draft and hands down the best Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen I’ve had outside of Hakata/Fukuoka. Their ramen may be the best Japanese-style ramen in China. Shioyama-san and his crew have created something magical at Tetsu where you can wash down a tasty pork-bone broth ramen with a clean and crisp High Ball, Oolong Hai, or any of myriad excellent libations.
To read the May 2014 issue of the Beijinger online, click here.