Baijiu (pronounced bye-jo) comes from China and has a unique taste, unlike any other spirit. The aromatics have been likened to blue cheese, mushroom, sesame, and some unappealing things. You might say it’s an acquired taste, definitely not for the meek. Our baijiu cocktail is a take on a piña colada.
When tasting baijiu for the first time, the first sip will tease your brain—and have you wanting to sip more to actually define it. In this cocktail, a take on a piña colada, the savory notes of Baijiu marries fruity caramelized pineapple and mangosteen with touches of sesame. A unique taste sensation, to say the least.
See the recipe for Sesame Colada, by Orson Salicetti, with this post. I chose to include this cocktail in my party plan featuring all things wild. The menu features foraged and some out-there ingredients.
DETAILS ON THE INGREDIENTS:
 Mixologist Orson Salicetti launches NYC’s first Baijiu cocktail lounge, Lumos. HOBNOB got a first peek at the space and a tasting of the high-proof, and high-priced spirit. Salicetti (seen in photo above) has been experimenting with loads of brands and has planned an extensive cocktail menu, highlighting the nuances of each one. Head to West Houston near West Broadway, and take the stairs under the hat shop. Have fun tasting! (Lumos is officially open May 18) lumosnyc.squarespace.com
 Lumos First look at the space, which features an extra long marble bar, that plans to be bar-stool-free. Owner Orson Salicetti wants everyone to get a chance at a taste of Baijiu, and be able to mingle and move freely. A shelf will be added to the back wall facing the bar for resting drinks. The bar features an extensive assortment of brands of Baijiu, plus a curated selection of traditional spirits for those who insist on classic offerings. A lounge area with benches of reclaimed wood is situated at the back. For upcoming events, see details at facebook.com/lumosnyc
 Kweichow Moutai Baijiu (50% Alc./Vol., 106 Proof) is a rare, small-batch blend perfect for sipping at special occasions. This exceptional aged baijiu is rich, earthy, and incredibly fragrant, with a long rounded finish, full of umami-soy notes. About $250.
 Hong Kong Baijiu (43% Alc./Vol., 86 Proof), in its distinctive bright red bottle, is one of the most popular brands of baijiu, and was first designed with the Western consumer in mind. Handcrafted in Sichuan, China, its fruity, lightly sweet taste may be less traditional, but it’s a great place to start for baijiu novices. About $50.
 Portobello Road Gin Fast becoming popular with gin lovers comes this brand from London’s famous shopping street. Juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, lemon and orange peel, licorice root, cassia bark, and nutmeg blend together for a clean and herbacious taste. Next time you are in London, book a session at their Ginstitute, where you can sample and create a gin to your liking. portobelloroadgin.com
 Lakewood Organic Mangosteen Juice is made with 100% Fruit Juice Fresh Pressed Mangosteen maintaining micro-nutrients. Restores electrolytes and supports digestion, and adds another indescribable taste to the cocktail—something in between a strawberry, kiwi and plum.
 Chinese Sesame Paste differs from tahini, in that roasted sesame seeds are used to make it. It comes in a dark brown and full-on sesame flavor.
We've got more recipes featuring foraged and wild ingredients in 14 Exotic & Foraged