Speaking of baijiu (白酒), all I can think about is getting drunk at special occasions or dinners drinking in those teeny-tiny glasses that look like dollhouse goblets. Believe it or not, this smoky strong distilled Chinese liquor is between 40 and 60 percent alcohol by volume is the best-selling spirit in the world. Of course, that’s mainly because baijiu is the most consumed alcohol in China.
Moutai (茅台), one of the best baijiu brands in the world, has been producing this mysterious and intriguing spirit for over 2,000 years. The secret of its highly intricate production methods have allured it as China’s best quality, most fascinating and probably also the most expensive spirit (Moutai Flying Fairy 1000 ml for $509). Like many European wine and liquor brands, Moutai can only be produced in the town of Moutai, which makes it an exclusive and valuable commodity.
Hosted by Moutai and Handpicked Cellar Door, this VIP cocktail event in Sydney featured Moutai cocktails, Moutai themed food, celebrity cocktail barmen, music and most importantly, lots of FUN!
Baijiu is not a new word to me as I use to drink baijiu over business dinners back in China. The traditional way of drinking it is always straight and at room temperature, of course you’d expect a lot of refills when you have such small glasses in hand. But to be honest, I’m still not a big fan of that savoury, funky and fermented palate unless I take shots while holding my breath so I don’t have to taste the strong alcohol.
When I heard about this Moutai cocktail party, I couldn’t be happier to try the best baijiu in the world integrated into cocktails, which is so intriguing and mysterious！Before I started my Moutai cocktail tasting journey, I asked for a shot of pure Moutai to start with just to remind myself of what the best baijiu tastes like. Made of organic sticky sorghum (similar to wheat), it takes five years to produce one bottle of Moutai. I shot Moutai Prince 53%, which there was no burn on the palate and went down so smooth with a subtle warmth in the chest. They ran out of the shot glass but baijiu in cocktail glass has definitely added an amazing exotic atmosphere to the party!
茅台在酒会上出品了四款鸡尾酒。第一款名叫香蕉王朝（Banana Dynasty），只有VIP吧提供，是由贵州茅台、苦酒、香蕉甜酒等调制而成，高脚鸡尾酒杯盛放。幸运的我居然品尝到了Enter the Dragon大赛冠军Bobby Carey亲自为我调制的鸡尾酒！这一杯绝对是我整晚最爱的鸡尾酒 – 香蕉甜酒完美地中和了茅台的辛辣口味，给整杯酒带来一份清甜。精致的柠檬片不仅让鸡尾酒口感更加清新，更成为了装饰鸡尾酒的点睛之笔。
There were four incredible cocktails on the Moutai cocktail menu. The first one I tried was Banana Dynasty from the VIP bar, served in a chilled coupette with Kweichow Moutai, bitters, creme de banane and quintyen rouge. I was also lucky enough to have my cocktail made by Enter the Dragon winner Bobby Carey! This was definitely my favourite cocktail of the night — the fruit flavour from creme de banane beautifully compensated for the funky palate from Moutai. The delicate citrus peels presented as an appropriate garnish and brought out the freshness of the spirit.
I was also spoiled with the perfect pairing food including the fresh salad, tasty Peking duck pancake and pork bao from Holy Duck!, which were rich, fat, sour and umami. In Chinese tradition, people usually pair baijiu with food that tends to be on the heavier side such as meats as noting cuts through fat and heavy sauces better than baijiu.
另外两杯精品鸡尾酒分别是雄鸡之颈（Roosters Neck）和众鸟之喙（Sneaky Beak）。雄鸡之颈是由贵州茅台、石榴、青柠、香橙、红酒和苏打水调制而成；众鸟之喙则盛放在高脚香槟杯中，由贵州茅台、烤橙皮、香草、香槟、香橙和薄荷叶精心混合而成。这两款酒果味浓郁，口味香甜，非常适合不习惯白酒的烈和辣口感的女士们。有了这两杯饮料，你也可以把白酒喝出高贵优雅的风味（你一定要看看大家第一次喝白酒的时候的表情）。
Another two popular Moutai cocktails were Roosters Neck served tall with Kweichow Moutai, pomegranate, lime, orange, red wine and chilled soda and Sneaky Beak served in a champagne flute with Kweichow Moutai, burnt orange, vanilla, sparkling wine, fluffy orange and mint. Sweet and fruity, these two are perfect for ladies who find baijiu way too strong and spicy but want to take a sip in a classy way (you should really see people’s face when they down a baijiu shot for the very first time!).
The cheese bar was the most innovative snack bar I’ve ever seen. I’d never imagine some of the cheese were marinated in baijiu and surprisingly they tasted amazing! Trying the cheese suddenly felt like a treasure hunt game with a surprise around every corner. I especially liked the marinated truffle cheese which had an earthy twist from the nutty truffle and fermented baijiu.
I enjoyed my last cocktail Black Crow, served in a champagne flute with Kweichow Moutai, stout, agave, sparkling wine and sesame while watching a lion dance performance at the cellar door. It seemed the lions were big fan of baijiu marinated cheese and I was pretty sure they got drunk from it as well!
The Moutai cocktail party showed Australia the delicacy and fascination of Chinese wine/spirit by presenting the 4 complimentary cocktails. The integration of Chinese traditional spirit with western cocktails mixology also embodied Chinese winemakers’ creation and innovation, which is also how this $85 billion Chinese company is building its brand internationally.
A fine gentleman was playing his best music as I downtempoed out with the beats. With the cocktails and snacks in my belly, I eventually made my way towards the beautiful evening with moonlight spreading on my shoulder.
The Moutai VIP Cocktail Party was held at Handpicked Cellar Door on March 6. For more information, go to moutai.com.au