'Firewater' for dessert? Moutai, a Chinese spirit brand, creates ice cream with baijiu-infused ingredients

Moutai is a strong and clear spirit that has been praised for its incredible taste.

'Firewater' for dessert? Moutai, a Chinese spirit brand, creates ice cream with baijiu-infused ingredients

Moutai is a strong and clear spirit that has been praised for its incredible taste. It is the preferred drink of choice among many Chinese businessmen and politicians looking to impress their coworkers.

The prestigious brand hopes to tap into a younger audience by opening its first Moutai ice-cream store. It will sell sweet treats made with the 53% alcohol.

On May 19, the first ever Moutai Ice Cream Shop opened in the lobby at the Moutai International Hotel, in Zunyi, in southwest Guizhou Province. There is also the headquarters of Kweichow Moutai, which makes the spirit.

Moutai, the most expensive type baijiu is also known as China's "national spirit". Although it is almost only consumed in China, it is also the most widely consumed hard liquor in the world. It is served at almost every occasion, from wedding receptions and business banquets.

Baijiu bottles can be found at a bargain price of $1 in convenience stores in China. A 500ml to 700ml (18 to 24 fluid ounces) bottle of Moutai costs between 1,499 and $223 for a standard version, and up to 16,000 Yuan ($2,390 for rare versions. A rare Moutai case sold in London for $1 million in 2021 -- the highest ever auction price for one lot of the spirit.

What does it taste like?

Many Chinese people are curious about the flavor of ice cream made with Moutai liquor, given its strong taste.

According to reports, the ice cream shop will offer 14 flavors of Moutai infused icecream, including matcha, green plum and chocolate, at prices starting from 39.9 Yuan ($6) to more that 100 Yuan ($15 per serving.

According to local media reports, those who have tried the ice-cream describe it as having a "light Moutai taste".

A Moutai is made from rice and sorghum. It goes through eight rounds subterranean fermenting over the course a year. This gives it a savory taste almost like soy sauce. The spirit has a rich flavor that includes notes of caramel, bitter herbs, and mushrooms.

Officially, the shop will open May 29th. However, for now, there are two Moutai flavors: vanilla Moutai and original Moutai. Each flavor retails at 39 Yuan per serving.

The price of Moutai icecream is higher than Haagen Dazs, which is arguably China's most well-known ice cream brand. Although brands such as Haagen-Dazs have distribution options through cold chain outlets, Moutai icecream can only be purchased at the flagship store.

Foodies all over the country are now craving baijiu-infused Ice Cream.

"It looks like Moutai ice-cream will become a buzz. Although I cannot afford the liquor, I can certainly afford an icecream. It's something I have to try," says Weibo, a microblog similar to Twitter in China.

"When will the Moutai Ice Cream Store also open in Beijing?" Another asked.

Avoid eating and driving

China's second most valuable publicly listed company is Kweichow Moutai, a liquor distiller. It has a market capital of more than $338 billion.

Both delight and controversy have erupted over the brand's entry into the ice-cream world. The hashtag "Moutai Ice Cream is 39 Yuan per Serving" has been viewed over 180 million times on Weibo.

While some may feel Moutai is a strange choice for ice cream, others praise the innovation.

"Why can't Moutai icecream be made with rum icecream?" One Weibo user wrote:

"Moutai distillers may also launch ice-creams according to the series Moutai vintages. Another said that a salty ice-cream with a baijiu flavour may be a market to look out for."

Many are looking forward to the next crossover and hoping for Moutai-infused coffee, chocolate, and milk tea.

However, netizens were quick to question the possible effects of the alcohol-infused Ice Cream.

"Will one become teetotal after eating just one cone, if they aren't able to hold their liquor?"

The ice cream was jointly produced by the Kweichow Moutai and Mengniu Dairy, one of China's largest dairy companies. It contains 50 grams of Moutai per kilo of milk, according to customer service personnel at the International Hotel.

It has a 3% alcohol content. The research and development team recommends that consumers do not drive after eating it. Minors are also not permitted to purchase it.

Moutai isn't the only brand to experiment with China's national spirit. Baijiu-infused pizzas and gummy bears are already on the market. A Beijing chef created a deep-fried baijiu dessert.

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