Home Australia Meet: Ray Letoa – Winner of Moutai’s ‘Enter The Dragon’ Competition

Meet: Ray Letoa – Winner of Moutai’s ‘Enter The Dragon’ Competition

Here we chat with Ray from the Roxy Cinema New Zealand – winner of this years Moutai ‘Enter The Dragon’ Competition. We delve into his competition experience, the inspiration behind his winning cocktail and what he is most looking forward to when he heads over to China.

What made you enter this year’s competition?

It was the sheer curiosity around what Moutai is and being challenged to incorporate a native ingredient is something I’ve never seen in cocktail competitions before.

Had you used Moutai much before the competition and will be using it at Roxy Cinema now?

Moutai ‘Enter the Dragon’ cocktail competition was my introduction to Baijiu. I had never heard of Moutai before I came across the competition, and never knew we had Moutai in New Zealand. However, now that I have won this prestigious cocktail competition, I will be spreading the Moutai word loud and far to all.

What do you like about using Moutai in cocktails?

I love its dominant flavour, it’s unlike any other spirit I’ve used before. The journey of flavour that Moutai provides is incomparable, which I really love.

Moutai has a very distinct flavour profile. How do you make it approachable for consumers trying it for the first time?

The way I make Moutai approachable is either creating a flavour profile that compliments or contrasts its very distinct flavour. I then go further and integrate flavours that the consumer is familiar with.

You used a New Zealand native ingredient in your cocktail. Do you use native ingredients often at Roxy Cinema?

We are very lucky in New Zealand, especially in my home neighbourhood of Strathmore where greenery surrounds us. Growing up we were always outside, and our elders would teach us about the local plants, foraging techniques and extraction methods. I just applied what I knew about nature to a cocktail. At Roxy Cinema, we try to use as many native New Zealand ingredients to showcase our beautiful country in our cocktails; it’s part of our ethos.

You’ve won a trip to China. What are you most excited about?

I’m forever thankful and humbled by the whole experience of the Moutai Enter the Dragon Cocktail competition, but the trip to China is a prize beyond words. I’m most excited about the experience and to learn about Chinese culture. I know they are an intelligent and honourable people that have strong traditions, so to hear those stories and see the whole country is what I’m excited most about.

What’s next for you now the competition is over?

I’ve made it a personal mission to spread the Moutai message and get it in front of as many people as possible until the next ‘Moutai Enter the Dragon’, so watch this space!