To escape the old-school impression of Baijiu, many brands are reinventing the spirit with baijiu cocktails. Encouraging younger generations and those outside of China to mix simple Baijiu cocktails, to inspire them to fall in love with this traditional Chinese spirit.
Despite being the most consumed spirit on the planet, Baijiu struggled to break into the worldwide market – in pat due to its strong, potent flavor that shocks many westerners when they first try the drink. To make the spirit more palatable for the Western tastebuds, Baijiu has started to make appearances in cocktails. This contradicts the way it has been traditionally consumed since the 1300s, but it is proving to be an effective way to encourage new generations of Baijiu enthusiasts. These are our 5 top tips for making Baijiu cocktails at home.
5 Tips For Mixing The Best Baijiu Cocktails
1. Do Your Homework
The more you understand how Baijiu is made, the history, and drinking etiquette the more you will appreciate its unique flavor and how to mix it. As Baijiu is a social drink you can also put your newfound knowledge into practice when drinking with friends. Impress your guests with your understanding of the world of Baijiu and inspire their love for the spirit.
2. Try All The Varieties
Baijiu comes in a rainbow of flavors and styles. There are 4 main groups the spirit can be sorted into. Unlike in Harry Potter, these drinks are not sorted into their groups with a sorting hat. Rather they are classified by their ingredients, fermentation, and distillation.
The four main styles are:
Be open to trying new Baijiu until you find the one that suits your taste and the other ingredients in your Baijiu cocktails. When you make a cocktail with the same base ingredients and then swap out the Baijiu for a different brand it will totally change up the taste.
3. Pair with Strong Flavors
Unfortunately for Baijiu’s reputation, it is largely seen as an unpalatable spirit that often results in the drinker squashing their face inwards, as if they had bitten into a sour lemon. This is mainly due to the high alcohol content as Baijiu is typically a high-proof spirit sitting in the range of 35-60% abv.
Therefore, it makes sense to pair this strong, fiery spirit with equally strong, complimentary mixers. Although you will have to tailor your cocktail mix to the variety of Baijiu you have, try flavors that can hold their own. Ingredients that compliment Baijiu include spices, ginger, or fruits such as pineapple and grapefruit. Browse our recipes for Baijiu cocktails for more inspiration.
Traditionally Baijiu is served as a shot, warm or at room temperature. To enjoy the drink as it was intended, never drink a shot of Baijiu chilled. However, this may not be optimal when you are mixing cocktails and you may choose to use chilled Baijiu.
5. Start Gentle
If you have ever tasted Baijiu you may remember the overpowering taste. This is why we recommend that you start slow and mix the spirit in cocktails.
Some brands have recently pivoted in their marketing approach to target international drinkers and younger members of Chinese society. Actively promoting the softer tasting light and rice aroma varieties of Baijiu and encouraging mixing of the spirit to produce Baijiu cocktails.
Jiangxiaobai Joyouth is one of the most notable brands targeting Baijiu to millennial audiences worldwide. This variety is smooth and palatable with lower than average alcohol content. Simple Baijiu recipes using this brand include our Chongqing Mule and Jiangxiaobai Mojito.
Another brand we love for beginners is Kinmen Kaoliang. This brand is available in 58° or 38°, the latter being a great starter Baijiu for those looking to dip their toe in.
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