This drink found in many Chinese restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, dates back to the Gold Rush of 1849. According to the story, gold prospectors and sailors would frequent San Francisco’s bar scene in search of a good time.
The sailors treated the bar girls to what they thought was French
champagne, but which was actually Belfast Sparkling Cider, a lightly
sweetened drink introduced to the region by Irish refugees who
immigrated to the US during the potato famine.
Ship captains apparently paid the bar girls to play along and
watched their sailors become intoxicated to the point that it wasn’t
a struggle to get them back to sea.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, it can be found in almost
every large Chinese restaurant in San Francisco and to retailers
throughout Chinatown. Belfast is especially popular in the month of
the Chinese New Year.