That’s the spirits | Four looks at Luzhou Laojiao

Part of this year’s global ganbei involved a handful of people around the world getting samples of Luzhou Laojiao for examination, experimentation, evaluation and, ultimately, enjoyment. Here’s the lineup.

Richard Auffrey

Food and drink writer / critic / explorer Richard Auffrey is best-known for his The Passionate Foodie site launched in 2007 — learn more about him here.

For “Mainstreaming Baijiu With Cocktails“, he used three different Luzhou Laojiao baijius to make cocktails.

“Another way to enlighten people about Baijiu, to make it more mainstream, is through cocktails, to showcase its versatility and flexibility, to present its flavors in a manner which might be more appealing,” he writes.

His lineup included cocktails made with Ming River, including one featuring watermelon and cucumber cooler, club soda and citrus bitters (a second was a spin on the Manhattan).

With Zisha Daqu [Antique Edition], including a blend of seven fruit juices, soda water and bitters (he noted this spirit would be interesting in a Bloody Mary).

And with Guojiao 1573, this time a mix of lemonade, club soda and ginger bitters. Auffrey said the last recipe “was probably also my favorite cocktail, refreshing and delicious, and perfect for the summer.”

See Auffrey’s full post here, which also includes his tasting notes for each baijiu and some background on this spirit. Then try and make a few cocktails of your own!

Guillaume Ferroni

This long-time World Baijiu Day participant — this year, his Marseille-area venue Bar Dans Les Arbres (Bar in the Trees) featured a gorgeous baijiu punch while sibling Château des Creissauds hosted a baijiu master class — reviewed a pair of Luzhou Laojiao baijius in French *and* English.

In short, Ferroni found Guojiao 1573 smelled fruity (think pineapple and peach), with a palate that gradually took bitter cocoa and burnt notes, and had a long finish that included fermented fruit and even some Italian bitters character. (He says this one would work well in a Negroni.)

And he found the Antique Edition had dark chocolate and coffee cream character, a silky texture, and both mint and dark chocolate at the finish. (His drink pick for this one was dry martini.)

Of course, his notes are more detailed than that, and you can find the full review in English here and in French here.

Ulric Nijs

“As you know, I’m a great fan of the baijiu category.”

So states Ulric Nijs of Bar-Face, who has over two decades of experience as a bartender and a wine and spirits expert. He reviewed three baijius by Luzhou Laojiao which he ranks among the very best distilleries for strong aroma style.

Nijs starts with Ming River, which he cites as having esters unique to this baijiu style, then Guojio 1573, which he notes is less diluted and has more pronounced flavors (“we are talking here about overripe pineapple”) and finally Antique Edition, which he says is his “go to, this is my baijiu, this is the one that I ask my family to bring every time they come back, the one that I savor and adore.” He describes this last one as incredibly layered and textured.

Nijs also says that for those seeking context, they can think of these baijius as something like a “pineapple eau-de-vie”, as a fruit brandy that can be sipped and savored. Check out his full video review here.

Jim Boyce

And these are my two posts.

One is a review of the three baijius — “Party like it’s 1573” — that covers Ming River, the lightest of the trio in terms of sweetness, viscosity and intensity, with anise, white pepper and melon aromas and with some tropical fruit and a touch of that pepper at the finish.

And Antique Edition, which takes things up a notch in terms of funk, intensity and flavor. Expect more umami as well as tropical fruit and toasted sesame and roasted chicory character. It starts pure and sweet, then the intensity pounces.

And Guojiao 1573, which offers lots of sensory stimulation, from roses and peaches to tropical fruit and something a bit funky. Plus, a concentrated sweetness that carries to the finish.

Check out the full post here.

The second post — ‘Fruit forward: Luzhou Laojiao vs mangos, kiwis, peaches and more‘ — is essentially about spirit and food pairing.

We see lots of fruit cited in baijiu tasting notes, so I visited my local supermarket to load up on a rainbow color’s worth of fruit to taste test versus three bottles of Luzhou Laojiao. My lineup featured banana, mango, dragon fruit, melon, peach, kiwi, mangosteen, plum, orange and lemon.

I did more than 100 sips / bites over three nights and found the plum most interesting. Sweet flesh that could easily be overwhelmed by the baijiu except it was saved by the intensity of the skins, both their tartness and tannins. Kiwi, which has both sweet and sour elements, also did relatively well across all three baijius, too.

Anyway, for notes on the general results, plus which fruit seemed to work best with each of Ming River, Antique Edition and Guojiao 1573, check out this post.

And we also have one more reviewer — I’ll update this post soon with that baijiu aficionado’s comments!

Founded in 2015, World Baijiu Day is held each August 9, with events in over 60 cities so far. Follow WBD on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And get in touch via spirit (at)

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply