The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Cross Yu’s Kiss Above The Clouds

Cross Yu represented China at the World Class Bartender of the Year final, 2013

Muse on the Bund has been open just over a year and is the third member of the Muse group, one of the premiere nightlife brands in Shanghai, helping to introduce high-end clubbing to the city six years ago. The space is modern, fairly slick and, as one might expect a bit dark with a central bar running through the space and a terrace with a pool. There are regular international guest DJs and though physically preserved, the old European trading waterfront of Shanghai, the Bund, has morphed beyond recognition since its former heyday as the trading core of European commerce in Shanghai.

The Bartender

Cross Yu finds the crucible of competitions a great place to develop the more rarefied, fine drinking recipes for his day, or really night, job as bar manager and mixologist at Muse on the Bund in Shanghai. On one such event, in Queenstown New Zealand, he got to take a helicopter to the top of a mountain to collect fresh snow to replace ice cubes, had to make a drink while bouncing in a jet boat and even made a bungee jump cocktail.

Cross’ cocktail menu at Muse is divided between classics and the club’s signature cocktails; mimicking a DJ’s decks, it is split between Old Skool and Muse Skool. His bar team use a lot of traditional Chinese ingredients in their concoctions – not least tea and ginger – and have a dedicated herb station where all things botanical are prepared fresh.

The Drink

Kiss Above the Clouds is inspired by its base spirit Ron Zacapa 23, which is aged at altitude in ‘the house above the clouds’ on a mountain in Guatemala, where the rum matures more slowly in whisky barrels and cooler temperatures. It is also Cross’ favourite spirit, for its rich chocolate flavour, coffee notes and subtle sweetness, which are showcased in this cocktail: ‘it is made with love, and not too much shaking’. Based on a Manhattan, the drink is rich and warm, smooth yet complex, with a long lasting finish, and garnished with a small homemade side of grilled orange that complements the drink’s chocolate flavours.


The Technique

Ron Zacapa 23 • 60ml
Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve • 5ml
Cocchi de Torino (Italian Vermouth) • 20ml
Tia Maria • 5ml
Chocolate bitters 2 dashes
Contains 25 grams of alcohol per serve

Pour all the ingredients into an ice-filled mixing glass. Stir until well chilled – Cross freezes the bottle of Zacapa in advance to ensure the optimum temperature is reached quickly while avoiding too much dilution.

Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with one piece of hand-cut ice. Garnish with a twist of orange.

If you haven’t quite finished supper Kiss Above the Clouds is perfect with a chocolate or coffee dessert before the dancing begins. So, come late, stay late, and find a table close to the main stage. Unlike many clubs Muse on the Bund retains a lounge bar area and a fully stocked cocktail bar.

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Cross’ Insider’s Guide to Shanghai

Place to stay
The Peninsula

Place to eat
Mr & Mrs Bund

Place to relax
Constellation bar

Place to lounge
Wine Plus Enoteca

Place to Dance
Muse on the Bund

Place to shop
Plaza 66

Place to visit
The Bund

Place to see