Shanghai Botanicals: Rio Liu of Peddler’s Gin

Peddlers - with barman | Peddler's Gin | Food For Thought

Peddler’s Gin has officially reached Malaysian shores with the launch of its Chinese botanical gin. With ingredients such as buddha’s hand, Sichuan peppers, angelica and lotus flower, the Shanghai made gin is perfect for cocktails that appreciate that citrus high notes, or simple as a gin and tonic with a slice of lemon. We speak to co-founder Rio Liu about the Chinese botanical gin.

Peddlers - Cocktail | Peddler's Gin | Food For Thought

Chinese Botanicals Peddler’s Gin

Peddler’s gin was founded in 2016 and is inspired by Shanghai’s street culture, as evidenced in its bottling and designs, all unmistakably Chinese. This handcrafted gin would be considered a new style gin, with its citrus notes taking centre stage. Hints of angelica can be tasted when sipped neat, making this gin highly Asian in flavour but at versatile in Martinis.

Rio Liu | Peddler's Gin | Food For Thought

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m Rio Liu. From Beijing, China. 36 years old. I’m the Co-Founder and Asia Sales Director for Peddlers Gin Company. Around 10 years’ experience in the Food & Beverage industry, working with brands, importers, bar consultants, etc. I’ve helped many foreign craft brands to build strategies, promote and manage the national importer & wholesaler network, and undertake product research and development in APAC.

Peddlers - Gift Box | Peddler's Gin | Food For Thought

Can you tell us a bit about Peddlers gin?

Our brand was inspired by the hustle and bustle charm of Shanghai and founded on the core belief that a more adventurous gin is a more interesting and enjoyable gin. Our vision is to challenge perceptions of what it means to be ‘made in China’ by showcasing Chinese creativity, craftsmanship and quality. Our gin is made with rare botanicals including Sichuan pepper from Qingxi Village, Buddha’s hand from Yunnan and lotus from Gansu.

Peddlers - Majhong 2 | Peddler's Gin | Food For Thought

What inspired the flavours used in this gin?

We wanted to create a vibrant flavour-forward gin that was perfectly balanced yet distinct from other products on the market. First and foremost, our ingredients were chosen for their quality and flavour. The Buddha’s Hand we use is a citrus fruit native to China that smells like a cross between a lime and a rose, which replaces typical lemon and orange used in other gins. The Sichuan pepper provides bright floral and citrus notes.

Shanghai Gin | Peddler's Gin | Food For Thought

What are your current expressions?

Our Peddlers Rare Shanghai Gin is created in the traditional method, in an alembic still. After more than two years of recipe development, it includes traditional botanicals from across China, such as Sichuan pepper, Buddha’s Hand, and lotus, and combine them with more traditional ingredients like juniper and coriander.

Our Barrel Aged Shanghai Gin has been aged for three months in 220 liter French oak barrels, which previously housed a Burgundy pinot noir. This allows us to present a gin which is both true to our Shanghai style and also incorporates the mellow vanilla of the oak, as well as the caramel flavors of the pinot noir grapes.

Peddler's Negroni | Peddler's Gin | Food For Thought

What is a good cocktail to use it in and why?

You can’t go past a Peddlers Negroni, the distinctive Sichuan pepper notes give it a flavour that’s very unique from other gins.

Barrel Aged Gin | Peddler's Gin | Food For Thought

Can you share a cocktail recipe with us that is perfect with Peddlers gin?

Aged Negroni

30 ml Peddlers Barrel Aged gin
30 ml Campari
30 ml Mancino Rosso Vermouth

Peddlers - from the top | Peddler's Gin | Food For Thought

Tell us something about this gin that most people will not know about?

We travel to the same Sichuan pepper farm each year for the pepper harvest, to ensure we get the very best ingredients direct from the farmer. It’s a flight into Chengdu, Sichuan, and then a three hour drive out to the farm. Last harvest we took some of China’s best bartenders with us to show them where it all begins.

Peddler's Martini | Peddler's Gin | Food For Thought

Are there any plans for new expressions?

We are always thinking about new product innovations. We’ve just released the world’s first barrel aged Salted Plum Gin. We’re exploring some other exciting botanical infusions but that’s all we can say for now.

Peddlers Gins is imported in Malaysia by Sunrise Wine & Spirits, available in the market via many distributors and wholesalers, along with several retail and e-commerce platforms (including, wine shops, supermarkets and very soon into all major cocktail bars & outlets.

Nicholas Ng

Nicholas Ng is a restaurant critic and drinks writer and is the editor of independent publication Food For Thought. He has been a freelance journalist for the 15 years and has previously worked as a lawyer and in digital marketing. He currently is the Principal Consultant of A Thought Full Consultancy, a food and beverage marketing consultancy.


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