The world’s first Moutai cocktail competition was held in Sydney in November with Bobby Carey of Earl’s Juke Joint taking out the title.
Entitled “Enter the Dragon”, the inaugural competition was presented by Moutai and inspired by the martial arts film, “Enter the Dragon” starring Bruce Lee, bringing the spirit and culture of the legendary film into the art of cocktail making.
Banana Dynasty by Bobby Carey
Bobby Carey’s cocktail, Banana Dynasty (recipe below) unanimously impressed the judges with a perfect balance of Moutai Flying Fairy, Gifford crème de bananes, La Quintinye Rouge vermouth and Angostura bitters that gave the drink complexity along with fruity notes that complement the spirit’s flavour profile.
Twelve finalists from all around Australia vied for the number one position, each putting on spectacular performances and displaying their cocktail creativity in front of the judges. Prior to the competition, all competitors received the ultimate bar tool, a custom made Moutai ice sword, engraved with their name.
Moutai Ice Sword
The twelve finalists were: Jonothan Carr from Archie Rose (NSW), Bobby Carey from Earl’s Juke Joint (NSW), Kevin Peters from Eau de Vie Melbourne (VIC), Martin Lange from Cobbler Bar (QLD), Alissa Gabriel from Eau de Vie Sydney (NSW), Tom Egerton from Eau de Vie Sydney (NSW), Cristiano Beretta from The Rook (NSW), Matt Linklater from Bulletin Place (NSW), Dave Green from The Smoking Panda (NSW), Lee Potter Cavanagh (NSW), Harry Scott from Golden Monkey (VIC), and Simon Smith from The Potting Shed (NSW).
In a tight and closed competition, the competitors were judged on a number of criteria. They were awarded a “Combat Rating”, where they had to display a fierce knowledge of Moutai, an understanding its production, traditional serve and reference to Chinese culture. Other criteria included the drink’s name and its saleability, simplicity and balance, taste and aroma, presentation and aesthetics.
Judging the competition were Ross Blainey (Moutai), Jenny Chiu (Moutai), Dylan Howarth (The Drink Cabinet) and Corinne Mossati (Gourmantic) with Jason Crawley (The Drink Cabinet) driving the competition.
L-R: Jonothan Carr, Cristinao Beretta, Simon Smith
Some of the creative highlights included a Moutai cocktail made with roast duck fat washed vodka and Chinese red wine served with duck pancakes (Jonothan Carr), a touch of east-meets-west with Moutai, Luxardo Maraschino and absinthe (Cristiano Beretta), the use of Moutai with capsicum puree with cracked pepper garnish (Simon Smith), and Moutai with sourdough syrup and pineapple yeast-charged Dubonnet (Tom Egerton).
L-R: Lee Potter Cavanagh, Alissa Gabriel, Martin Lange
Theatrics were also at play with an “accidental spilling” of the cocktail (Lee Potter Cavanagh) before presenting it with sparkles, incense and dragons (Alissa Gabriel) and a cocktail skilfully poured over a long sword (Martin Lange).
Moutai Traditional Serve
Moutai is China’s most renowned brand of Baijiu, a luxury spirit within Chinese culture that has a long and rich history. Moutai is made using sorghum, qu powder and pristine water from the Chishui river. The method of production is time intensive involving multiple fermentation and distillation cycles and prolonged aging in large clay pots.
After a day of intense judging, the winner was announced at an after party held at Uncle Ming’s Bar in Sydney with Moutai cocktails and performances by Shaolin monks.
Bobby Carey, the “Enter The Dragon” Champion and the world’s first Moutai cocktail competition winner will be travelling to China to learn about the ancient and modern techniques of Moutai production. He will also be spending two nights in Hong Kong with an opportunity to explore its famous bars, restaurants and culture.
Banana Dynasty Cocktail by Bobby Carey
Banana Dynasty Cocktail
40ml of Kweichow Moutai
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
20ml Gifford Crème de Bananes
15ml La Quintinye Rouge
Glassware: double ornate rocks glass
Garnish: orange peel
In a mixing glass, add the Moutai, bitters, Crème de Bananes and La Quintinye Rouge vermouth. Add ice and stir. Strain into a double rocks glass and garnish with orange peel.
For a photo gallery of the event with all the contestants, go to the Gourmantic Facebook page.
You may also like: Essential Guide to Baijiu
All photography © by Deanna Gerlach. Used with permission.
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