We might have the ideal solution for those seeking to avoid a hangover-guaranteeing “ganbei” (“bottoms up”) party in China – a nonalcoholic baijiu.
UK-based Lyre’s Spirit says it is launching such a libation exclusively in China.
From Lyre’s LinkedIn account: “Lyre’s Baijiu Spirit has been expertly crafted and refined over two years to capture the essence of the traditional Chinese liquor, the national spirit of China, and will offer consumers the ability to enjoy a frictionless swap to a premium, non-alcoholic alternative.”
Lyre’s says that bar Hope & Sesame in Guangzhou as well as hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai will be among those listing it.
I haven’t seen a clear indication of the baijiu style but a May 8 post on Lyre’s WeChat account describes the liquid as smooth and fragrant with citrus, fdennel and pineapple character – sounds like it might be strong aroma.
Anyway, the WeChat post also included several cocktail recipes, from riffs on classics such as the Mojito, Negroni (photo below) and Moscow Mule to new concoctions like Don’t Lie to Me by Filippo Sanchi at the Rosewood Hotel in Guangzhou (photo at bottom).
The aim seems to be to tap into more health-conscious consumers. It will indeed be a handy alternative for those who are driving, on medication or want to enjoy a cocktail featuring baijiu flavors sans alcohol.
“Whilst the vast majority of Baijiu consumption will undoubtedly remain alcoholic, there are a whole host of situations where individuals may want to take part in the Baijiu drinking custom or create non-alcoholic Baijiu-based cocktails that we see on-trend throughout China’s luxury hospitality sector,” said Lyre’s co-founder and CEO Mark Livings.
This is the 17th product in the range at Lyre’s, founded in 2019, and was developed with guidance from “Global Flavour Architect” David Murphy.
By the way, I know someone who will hear about this import and immediately ask if the label 1) features a dragon, 2) is red and 3) has the “lucky” number 8 somewhere. Yes, yes and no.