At Tales of the Cocktail, I was invited to learn about a Chinese spirit known as baijiu. It translates as “white wine” though it is a distilled spirit. It is often made from sorghum and the largest brand is Moutai.The distillery is in Southern China. I had been interested in baijiu as I saw it being used in cocktails in Asia. I have not seen it in cocktails in the States yet but I have some hope.
Often taken as tiny shots during toasts at Chinese meals, we enjoyed it in the same manner. Moutai hosted the Chinese lunch of spring rolls, soup, stir-fried dishes and fried rice. While eating, I started thinking about how I would use it. This is a high proof spirit so it should make great cocktails. I’ve read some articles where people tend to think of it as rocket fuel but Moutai was actually nice. Yes, there is a noticeable alcohol burn, especially after a few tiny shots. But it’s not unlike an overproof gin. There was some sweetness to the spirit.
Since it originated in China, one would think to use in in Asian influenced cocktails. I would actually be curious to see how it’d stand up in a classic cocktail. Maybe start with something easy like a Negroni (swap Moutai/ baijiu for the gin).
I’ve been eying all the different brands at the local stores near me. So far I have not found Kweichow Moutai but I’m going to keep trying. In the meantime, kanpai!
© The Minty // LA Cocktails 2012