Events Spirits & Wine

Wuliangye Chinese Liquor

Wuliangye, China’s number one selling spirit launched in Sydney at a spectacular event held at the Star. VIPs and media were treated to a gala black tie evening with cocktails and canapés on arrival, a three course dinner interspersed with violinists, presentations and entertainment including drummers and lion dancers, an opera singer, tango dancers and rappers on stage.

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Wuliangye Tasting Notes

Wuliangye (WU = five, LIANG = grain, YE = liquor) is a luxury white spirit from China made from a blend of five organic ingredients, broomcorn, glutinous rice, rice, wheat and corn delivering a unique aroma and taste. The spirit was originally created during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) using Yibin’s local spring, the purest water sourced from the Sichuan province. Wuliangye is distilled in a subtropical climate with year round average temperatures of 18oC and 85% humidity.

Wuliangye (52% ABV) is crystal clear in colour and markedly viscous in the glass, with small beads forming above the rim. On the nose, it is highly pungent with a marked nose burn indicative of its high ABV. Once accustomed to the nose prickle, fruity and estery aromas emerge. On the palate, there is marked fruitiness mainly pineapple notes, liquorice, with savoury elements, soy sauce and a distinct dryness. The finish is very dry, long and lingering with alcohol burn.

China’s number one selling spirit is a luxury product and comes in a 500 ml bottle with anti-counterfeiting technology on its packaging, much like what is done with paper currency.

Just like Moutai, China’s other luxury white spirit, Wuliangye is enjoyed by the elite who sip it neat or enjoy it with food. While it may be challenging to the unaccustomed western palate, it is well worth trying in cocktails and with food.

Wuliangye Cocktails

Three cocktails featuring Wuliangye were served on arrival. Created by bartender Alex Dickson of the newly-open Raven’s Eye bar in Newtown, each cocktail highlighted different notes of the spirit without masking its flavour.

Beijing Blush was made with Wuliangye, pineapple juice, lychee juice, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, shaken and served up in a martini glass garnished with 2 lychees on a skewer. See recipe for Wuliangye Beijing Blush here.

The Five Grain Goddess featured Wuliangye with white crème de cacao, fresh lemon juice, 2 dashes of chocolate bitters, egg white, shaken and served over ice garnished with chopped chocolate and lime wedge.

The Panda’s Paw had Wuliangye, Disaronno, fresh lemon juice, maple syrup, a whole mint sprig, 2 dashes of absinthe, shaken up with the mint, fine strained and served over ice and garnished with a mint sprig.

Wuliangye and Food

The Star’s Executive Chef Uday Huja created an elaborate a three course dinner designed to complement the flavours of Wuliangye.

For the entrées, the Slow Braised Chinese Pork Belly with Abalone and Pickled Radish was based on the pineapple notes of Wuliangye, a pairing that worked very well in cutting through the fatty pork belly as well as the fruity notes of the spirit. The Five Spice Duck Breasts, Daikon Fondant, Scallop Wonton & Star Anise Glaze was based on the warming aspects of Wuliangye and winter with the use of five spice and star anise highlighting the liquorice notes of the spirit.

For the main course, the Steamed Grouper with Carrot Ginger Puree, Surf Clams, Aged Ham Glaze & Dried Scallops was seared then flambéed with Wuliangye while the Grass Fed Beef Fillet, Wok Tossed Wild Mushrooms, Soy Truffle Sauce & Lotus Root was chosen to highlight the luxury elements of a premium beef fillet and truffles, the latter pairing remarkably well with the spirit.

Dessert was a Mango Pudding with Earl Grey Ice Cream & Cinnamon & Carmelita Beignets, picking up on the pineapple flavour profile of Wuliangye.

Wuliangye is distributed by the Ettason Group and comes in a 500ml bottle priced around $200.

Wuliangye’s launch event was held on Friday 3 July 2015 at the Star in Sydney.

You may also like: Essential Guide to Baijiu


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.