(CNN) — Moutai, a clear and potent drink known for its incredibly strong taste, is known as the drink of choice for many Chinese politicians and businessmen who want to impress their colleagues.
And now the prestigious brand hopes it can tap into a younger market by launching its very first Moutai ice cream shop, selling sweet treats infused with the notoriously strong spirit which is 53% ABV.
The first-ever Moutai ice cream shop opened on May 19 in the lobby of the Moutai International Hotel in Zunyi City in southwestern Guizhou Province. The Kweichow Moutai group, which produces the ghost, has its headquarters there.
Moutai is the most expensive kind of baijiu, often referred to as the “national spirit” of China. It is drunk almost exclusively in the country, but is the world’s most widely consumed spirits. It’s served at just about every celebratory occasion across the country, from wedding receptions to corporate banquets.
The new Moutai ice cream shop opened on May 19, 2022 in the Chinese city of Zunyi.
How does it taste?
Given that Moutai’s strong flavor has earned it the nickname “firewater,” many people in China were curious about what an ice cream flavored with the liqueur might taste like.
The ice cream shop will reportedly introduce 14 flavors of Moutai-infused ice cream, including matcha, chocolate and green plum, with prices ranging from 39.9 yuan ($6) to more than 100 yuan ($15) per serving.
Those who have already tried the ice cream describe it as having “a light Moutai flavor,” according to local media reports.
Distilled from sorghum and rice, a batch of Moutai goes through eight rounds of underground fermentation over the course of a year, a process that gives the spirit an almost savory flavor similar to soy sauce. Notes of mushrooms, caramel and bitter herbs add to the amazingly rich taste.
The store will officially open on May 29, but for now there are two flavors of Moutai ice cream available: the original Moutai ice cream and vanilla Moutai ice cream, each priced at 39 yuan per serving.
Heart-shaped ice cream products for sale at the new Moutai ice cream shop.
Moutai ice cream is more expensive than Haagen-Dazs, arguably the most famous ice cream brand in China. But while brands like Haagen-Dazs offer distribution options through cold chains, Moutai ice cream can only be enjoyed at the flagship store for now.
That has left foodies across the country craving a taste of the baijiu-infused ice cream.
“It looks like Moutai ice cream is going to be a hype. I can’t afford the drink, but I can certainly afford an ice cream. I must give it a try,” says a post on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging platform. †
“When will the Moutai ice cream shop open in Beijing?” asked another.
Don’t eat and drive
Kweichow Moutai Liqueur Distillery is now China’s second most valuable publicly traded company, with a market capitalization of over $338 billion.
The brand’s foray into the ice cream world has sparked both joy and discussion. A hashtag that translates to “Moutai ice cream costs 39 yuan per serving” has racked up more than 180 million views on Weibo.
But while some felt Moutai might be an odd choice for an ice cream flavor, many praised the innovation.
“Why can’t there be Moutai ice cream when there is rum ice cream?” wrote one Weibo user.
“Moutai distillers can also launch ice creams according to the Moutai range of wines. A salty ice cream with a baijiu flavor can also become a market to watch,” said another.
Some are already looking forward to the next crossover, hoping for Moutai infused chocolate, coffee and milk tea.
Netizens, nevertheless, were quick to question the possible effects of consuming the alcohol-soaked ice cream.
“Will someone get tipsy eating a cone if they can’t hold their drink at all?”
Produced jointly by the Kweichow Moutai group and one of China’s largest dairies, Mengniu Dairy, the ice cream consists of 50 grams of Moutai per kilogram of milk, International Hotel customer service team told local media.
Because it has a 3% alcohol content, the research and development team advises consumers not to drive after eating it and minors should not buy it.
Moutai is not the first brand to get a little adventurous with the national spirit of China. Baijiu-infused pizza and gummy bears are already on the market, while a Beijing chef invented a deep-fried baijiu cake.
Top image: Bottles of Moutai line the shelves of the brand’s flagship ice cream store. Credit: VCG/Getty Images