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A whole new spirit category just opened up for discerning drinkers in India. India is the latest market for premium Jiangxiaobai Baijiu that is currently present in 24 countries across the globe. With this, India is now introduced to the Chinese tradition of Baijiu drinking,  a tradition that has been ingrained in the Chinese culture for thousands of years. And this youthful brand targets the new generation of Baijiu drinkers who are willing to experiment with various styles of spirits.

“The demography, purchasing power of the youth and demand for aspirational brands is a driving force,” says Zoe Fu, Director of International Business, Jiangxiaobai. “While Baijiu, as a white spirit, is one of the largest spirits category in the world, it is new for the Indian market and we are taking this opportunity to first build this category of spirit and believe that the country has the potential to become one of the largest export markets for it,” he adds.

Jiangxiaobai

What is Baijiu and How Can You Enjoy it

Baijiu is a smooth, light and pure white spirit with notes of green apple, sweet sorghum with a hint of pungency, and finishes with umami flavours. It has a smooth taste with a lingering subtle almond-flavor. For Indian millennials looking at experimenting with new categories, Jiangxiaobai Pure (in the Light and Smooth style) has a 40 ABV. This makes it a versatile option for shooters as well as tall cocktails.

Made of 100 per cent premium sorghum, Jiangxiaobai’s Baijiu is made at Jiangi distillery using traditional steaming, distilling and cooling processes. The fermentation process takes place in a stone pit taking 28 to 30 days. It is then distilled in traditional Chinese pot stills.

Once the spirit is derived from distillation it is aged for two years in a mix of stainless steel and ceramic vessels. The distillery where the fermentation takes place is not temperature controlled and processes followed are still very traditional. Sumedh Singh Mandla, CEO – VBev India, that have brought Jiangxiaobai to India says, “Its unique flavour profile makes it a great base for mixed drinks. It can be consumed straight (as is traditionally done in China), or with mixers”.

Jiangxiaobai

Baijiu cocktails and food pairings

Some cocktails created and showcased for the bartending fraternity in India use Baijiu with yogurt, passion fruit puree and lychee crush to create the Princess, which is strained over fresh ice cubes. There is also the Ice Breaker that uses the spirit, along with cranberry juice, peach/apricot crush and lime juice, shaken and poured over ice.

baijiu

What perhaps makes it a good fit in the millennial choice of spirits is that it pairs beautifully with cuisines that are mildly spicy and sweet. For example, some dishes from the south Indian or Rajasthani cuisine will work very well with the drink. Among international cuisines, it pair well with barbeques, sushi, Cantonese food and hot pots. Looking at global consumption trends, the experts explain that according to Chinese tradition, Baijiu is widely consumed with the food. As per the Indian and European drinking habits; spirits like this are mostly consumed before or after the meals. The choice really depends on the consumer.

Baijiu has currently been launched in Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai. In the next phase the intention is to launch in Goa, Pune and Chennai. Tier 1 and 2 cities will see this spirit making inroads.

Jiangxiaobai is priced at: Rs 3,100 in New Delhi; Rs 3,850 in Mumbai and Rs 4,500 in Bengaluru 

Ruth Dsouza Prabhu

Ruth is an independent journalist based in Bangalore. Always in pursuit of the next story that interests her, loves her food and drink, bookworm and a sucker for sunsets and airplane journeys.