Noble Know How: Baijiu…what is it?

Baijiu Noble Know How

Your regular nugget of Noble alcohol industry knowledge…

Pronounced ‘Bye-Joe’ for those in the know, Baijiu is a Chinese alcoholic beverage made from grain. Also known as sorghum wine or shaojiu it is literally translated as ‘white alcohol’ and is a strong distilled spirit – usually between 40 and 60% alcohol.


This drink has been around for over 5000 years and can be made in various forms. Generally, a clear liquid distilled from fermented sorghum (an ancient Asian grain) some varieties also use glutinous rice, wheat, barley or millet. It’s final defining point is the use of a jiugu starter culture in the production of the baijiu mash which is more often made of pulversed wheat grains.

Baijiu has a distinctive smell and taste that is highly valued in Chinese culinary culture. Connoisseurs of the beverage really focus on its fragrance. Low grades of baijiu can be quite inexpensive; however, higher grades, which are often aged for many years, can command much higher prices. The most expensive bottles can be up in the thousands of dollars.

Because of its clarity, baijiu appears similar to several other Asian liquors, but it generally has a higher alcohol content than, for example, Japanese shõchu which is around 25% or Korean soju around 20-45%. It is much closer to a vodka in strength and mouth feel.

Baijiu’s are traditionally drunk in shots with a big meal but are also drunk at all major Chinese festivities…it can be customary for everyone at an event to have a shot! Its potency means it can be difficult to add anything however there are certainly people experimenting with the white liquor. Our friends at Lot 1, Sydney and Marble Sydney, Sydney have been trying their hands at a few concoctions over the last month with fabulous results.


If you are interested in a taste of this intriguing spirit, Hong Kong Baijiu (HKB) and it’s gorgeous bright red bottle can be a good place to start, with hints of sweetness and pineapple to the nose.  Sydney stockists include Lotus Dining, Fisherman’s Drink Wines and Lot 1 and Melbourne stockists include Wigs Cellars, The Wine Depot and Harvest Wine & Liquor.



Noble Know How: Garden Grown Gin – La technique de l’enfleurage

Distillery Botanica Gin Noble Know How

Your regular nugget of Noble alcohol industry knowledge…

Do you know how to make your gin bloom…the guys at Distillery Botanica do… 

Award winning Master Distiller Philip Moore and Co-Founders Frank Bethel and Will Miles set out to create a gin that captured the essence of the Australian summer garden. Moore produces the gin using the increasingly rare process of ‘enfleurage’, a thousand-year-old French technique favoured by perfumers, which extracts untainted perfume from the quintessentially Australian Murraya flower, to create its distinct flavour. “The method captures ingredients as purely as possible, without the use of heat, and makes the delicate Murraya come alive” says Moore. With cues of Jasmine, Honeysuckle and Orange Blossom, the gin distils the essence of a fresh Australian summer garden.


The process begins with Moore, whose decades of experience, understanding of botanicals and knowledge as a celebrated herb specialist, brings a finesse to extracting fine fragrances from the botanicals. He distils each one separately, respecting their special flavours and characteristics, before meticulously blending them together.


“The garden is our muse, we see what is growing and form ideas from that,’ says Miles, Brand Director. ‘It is a really natural process,” he continued, “there will be variations as to what botanicals we might use, depending on what is growing. The flavour will stay consistent but those with a serious nose might pick up subtle variations.”

Discover Distillery Botanica via their website or grab at bottle at your local bottle shop.


Noble Know How: Cider Production – Méthode Champagnoise

Cider Noble Know How

Your regular nugget of Noble alcohol industry knowledge…

First off this month might be of interest to any bubble-lovers out there.

You may have heard that the best Champagnes and sparkling wines are made using the méthode champenoise which requires a secondary fermentation in the bottle but did you know that the same method is used within the cider-making industry?

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Méthode champenoise is sometimes thought of being the ultimate way of avoiding a ‘yeast problem’ through any fermentation process. In many processes the yeast will form a deposit in the bottle which can create a heavy and coarse flavour. In this other method, the yeast is removed by inverting and turning the bottle in stages until it is all collected in the neck. It is then frozen in an ice-salt mixture, the bottle opened, the frozen yeast plug forced out by gas pressure, and the bottle is topped up and resealed before the majority of the gas can escape. The quality of such ciders is legendary, although for obvious reasons they are labour-intensive to produce.

Our delicious Sassy ciders are produced using this method which we think makes them even MORE special.