Can a cocktail using China’s national liquor become New Zealand’s signature drink?
China hopes its ‘Dancing Kiwi’ can help Moutai expand into New Zealand
By Lincoln Tan
Puerto Rico has pina colada, Singapore has Singapore sling - now a China backed liquor group is hoping “Dancing Kiwi” can become New Zealand’s signature cocktail.
The Dancing Kiwi cocktail, using China’s national liquor Moutai Tianchao baijiu as the base, also has kiwifruit puree, citrus shrub, mint leaf, manuka honey, lemon juice in the mix and is topped with soda.
Mixologist Li Tong, a China national, was tasked by the World Alcohol Beverage Alliance (Waba) to create the drink after she won the world 2017 Patron Perfectionist Cocktail Competition.
Olive Chen, Waba’s overseas operations manager, said the cocktail was part of the Moutai Group’s plan to spread the popularity of its liquor in New Zealand.
“In China people like to drink it neat or on the rocks, but we feel that in New Zealand the Moutai Tianchao baijiu would be more acceptable in a cocktail mix,” Chen said.
Moutai baijiu is a distilled Chinese spirit produced by China state-owned Kweichow Moutai Company and contains 53 per cent alcohol by volume.
The group is launching the liquor in Auckland at SkyCity on June 9, which will also be its first summit outside the mainland.
“We hope the Dancing Kiwi can become New Zealand’s signature cocktail and be on the menu of bars across the country,” Chen added.
Li has been brought in by the group to launch the cocktail and is a guest bartender at SkyCity’s Huami bar where Dancing Kiwi is being served for NZ$18 (US$12.59) a pop.
“I am honoured to be asked to create a drink for New Zealand,” Li said.
“This is the first time I have created a cocktail using just one liquor as a base, but the flavours in the drink come from the uniquely New Zealand ingredients.”
The Perfectionists champion said she named the drink Dancing Kiwi because she wanted it to be a happy drink.
“One sip and you are transported to a happy place, and it will make you feel like dancing,” said Li.
Journalist Chelsea Boyle who tasted Dancing Kiwi for the first time described it as “summery” and “refreshing”.
“It’s different but I think it’s got potential,” Boyle said.
“Something I think people would be happy to try at the bar.”