Served with a twist

By Joyce Yip | HK EDITION | Updated: 2021-02-05 16:50
Share - WeChat
An aging tunnel at Luzhou Laojiao Baijiu Distillery in Sichuan. The Ming River Sichuan Baijiu brand, targeted at the international market, was the result of a tie-up with the Luzhou distillery. [PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY]

In existence since the Song Dynasty, and a staple of Chinese banquets, baijiu is being reinvented to cater to a younger and international market. Joyce Yip reports.

In the summer of 2016, Antonio Lai, a mixologist who runs Quinary, a bar in Hong Kong's Central, was approached by baijiu manufacturer Kweichow Moutai. Lai was asked to consider using the Moutai brand in a monthly special cocktail. Three weeks later, he had perfected Dear Jade, a concoction of pear puree, cardamom, pink peppercorn syrup, champagne and the sought-after Chinese spirit. He served the cocktail in a jade-colored flask, embellished with a ribbon that was the same fiery shade of red as Kweichow Moutai's label.

This is no easy feat even for a multi-award winning bartender of international repute as Lai. Moutai, a type of baijiu — or Chinese white wine — is known not only for its 50-plus ABV, but also the wide variety of curiously contradictory flavors that it comes in — overripe tropical fruit, cheese, soy sauce, licorice, anise, caramelized shiitake mushrooms, gasoline, toasty rice, old socks and more.

For instance, Kweichow Moutai can taste like caramel when it's hot and also give off hints of peach, lychee and apricot when served cold.

"From a bartender's point of view, baijiu is super heavy: it's more of an enhancement than a core ingredient," says Lai. No more than 10 ml of baijiu was used in Dear Jade, but it was enough to leave an impression.

"It was a good way for me to showcase a bit of Chinese history and that something as challenging as baijiu could be used in a cocktail," Lai says.

1 2 3 4 5 Next   >>|
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349