What’s your Favorite Baijiu Mixer

Monday, June 3, 2013 13:46
Posted in category Going to Market

In a recent article Fiery Chinese liquor looks to sell in West

To make the point that any liquor can find a market, the article tries to leverage the history of tequila with the opportunity for baijiu to find a market:

“Tequila has a very unusual flavor compared to more popular spirits,” said Derek Sandhaus, industry consultant and author of a forthcoming book on baijiu appreciation.

“But through clever marketing, good cocktails, and good management, it’s earned a place on the bar shelf. I see no reason why the world’s most popular spirit can’t do the same.”

The same could be said for sake, Japan’s equivalent white liquor, in so far as it gained popularity through clever marketing (i.e the sake bomber), but what would it take for Baijiu to take hold in western markets?

1) What could baijiu be paired with that would make it more palatable to the western consumer? I have to admit that China has a knack for developing surprisingly good mixers like green tea and Chivas, but I am still at a loss for the potential mixes that this article seems to imply would help with its popularity.  Red bull and baijiu?

2) What kind of campaign would work best?  Both Sake and Tequlia have a strong shot culture around them, and one that is paired with beer (if not thrown inside the pint itself).  But Baijiu?  That is not something that is traditionally paired with anything except the odd glass of red wine that needs to be skulled.

Image Source:300 Shots of Greatness

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5 Responses to “What’s your Favorite Baijiu Mixer”

  1. James says:

    June 3rd, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Sprite. Only sprite. Not 7up, not any other fizzy drink. Christ knows why it neutralises the taste, but it just does.

  2. Rich says:

    June 3rd, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    James – if I am ever in a position where I am staring at a baijiu bottle, I will ask for a can of sprite and give it a shot.

    R

  3. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    June 4th, 2013 at 1:43 am

    I’ve just been running aorund London and Paris and found a couple of Baiju based cocktails in some of the more upmarket bars in both cities. The ever-amazing Jim Boyce has also written about using Baiju in cocktails here: http://www.beijingboyce.com/2010/02/10/drinks-to-try-in-beijing-baiju-cocktail-at-2f-bourbon-kiwi-at-tryst/

    while Chowhound have a whole section devoted to Chinese-themed cocktails here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/542952. So you’re certainly in vogue with this topic right now. However I’m not sure using Baiju to make cocktails with doesn’t somehow defeat the object of distilling the drink in the first place. Many Chinese lack the gene that breaks down alcohol (which is why they turn red and feel sick after just a few sips) while most Westerners do have possess it.

    This is why alcoholic spirits in the West tend to be more refined, Westerners can drink quantities on-going over the course of an entire evening and developed sipping and refined drinks as a result. With Baiju and many of the similar Asian spirits, that ability isn’t there, so the spirits can be less refined – they are prepared with the express purpose of deliberately getting drunk.

    Add to that a certain machismo over who can drink the most and…well suffice to say I have seen many instances of Chinese officials being carried, semi-concious out of restaurants.

    Accordingly making Baiju into a cocktail mixer seems to buck the entire purpose of the drink.

    As for Chinese alcohols, I’m more of a Huangjui man myself, I find it goes much better with the oilyness of many Chinese foods and can also be served hot in the winter months with added dried sugar plums for sweetness or thin slices of ginger. Finally, here’s the best word ever for “Cheers!”

    “Toktoy!!!” (Mongolian, usually accompanied by fermented horse milk or vodka) – Chris

  4. Rich says:

    June 4th, 2013 at 2:46 am

    @chris – thanks for the links.

    I have had the pleasure of two glasses of Toktoy.. and I can honestly say that was the worst drink I have ever consumed.

  5. Alexandre Rousseau says:

    June 4th, 2013 at 3:39 am

    What could baijiu be paired with that would make it more palatable to the western consumer?
    A blow to the head comes to mind.

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