HKB Available In The UK
The Chinese spirit, Baijiu (pronounced bye-joe) is a powerful alcoholic drink, which has been made using grains for centuries. It used to be called sorghum wine or shaojiu and is often used in celebrations or to strengthen bonds in business and family.
Over 4 billion gallons of the drink are drunk every year, but it has been little known in the Western world. Over the last 3 years the spirit has become more popular in London bars – the third Baijiu Cocktail ‘Week’ will take place from Friday 5 February 2016 to Sunday 14th February, coinciding with the celebrations for Chinese New Year.
A brand called HKB (Hong Kong Baijiu) distilled in Sichuan in China using sorghum, rice, sticky rice, corn and wheat and aged for 2 years before the blending process starts, has now become available in the UK. It is designed to appeal a bit more to Western tastes than the original liquor (often described as firewater-like!).
Frenchman Charles Lanthier, who lived in China for a considerable time, created HKB. He describes HKB as: “the world’s gateway to Baijiu.” His tasting notes describe the drink as having ‘a delicate nose with notes of red fruits, green apple and sweet meadow grasses.” Its palate is described as having ‘an attractive sweetness and subtle flavours of fruit and toffee, with a long, fragrant finish.”
HKB can be bought through Speciality Drinks, The Whisky Exchange and 31dover.com in 75cl bottles at 43% ABV. It can be used in a lot of modern cocktails and to give a twist to some classic cocktails.
Baijiu is traditionally enjoyed with food and a good Baijiu should be bright, shiny, clear (no suspended particles) and served at room temperature in small tasting cups. With Whisky being enjoyed so much in China and Japan, I guess it is time for the Western world to embrace this most Eastern of drinks!
Bar magazine / baijiucocktailweek.co.uk / Wikipedia