Simply put Baijiu is like marmite, you either love it or hate it! I used to hate it when I first arrived, now I love the stuff!
Baijiu or 白酒 as its written in Chinese is China’s national drink of choice, drank absolutely everywhere. Like most alcohol theres your cheap stuff and your expensive. The two biggest brands Wu Liang Ye & Moutai retail around a hundred pounds a bottle, and cheap bottles of other brands can go as low as 70 pence!!! Maotai is the more popular of the two big brands and certainly my favorite, its almost an unwritten rule that every table at a wedding must have at least one bottle on it.
Baijiu is definately an acquired taste. Its average strength is 50-53% proof so definitely not for alcopop lovers, and its taste is completely unique, if dragons made spirits this would be it!
The picture above I took at my wifes cousins engagement dinner, and as anyone who’s visited China will tell you is a classic Chinese sight, a few packs of smokes, a few bottles of Baijiu, beer and seafood. The culture here is to eat a little first to line your stomach before starting on the Baijiu, after that it’s eat a little drink a little & repeat. Its meals like this that most Chinese drinking gets done. Theres still plenty of bars and night clubs but this is more popular, eat and drink, Chinas two favorites!
Having recently started to prepare to home brew cider and beer I’ve also become curious about how to brew Baijiu, its actually pretty straight forward, brewing from one or several of five grains, most popular in the south being sticky rice. Keep an eye for future posts on brewing!