5 things you should know about baijiu, the Chinese spirit
These are the five things you should know about baijiu. China’s national drink, baijiu, is recognized as the most popular in the world.
Each year 10 billion liters of this liquor are consumed. Literally Baijiu (白酒) means white liquor, is native to the provinces of Sichuan and Guizhou and is estimated to be consumed and produced since a thousand years or more.
It is generally distilled from fermented sorghum, although other grains may be used; some styles in southeast China may use rice or glutinous rice, while other Chinese varieties may use wheat, barley, millet or even Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen (yìyǐ) in their alcoholic recipes.
Different Types of Baijiu and how to drink it
1. Made to drink in shots
Typically served in tiny glasses, to consume in small proportions, as shots but in smaller quantities, their bottles usually have an alcoholic content of 50 to 65 degrees. Very tasty, the baijiu gives off a strong characteristic smell and does not provoke like tequila or rum.
2. You must drink it in good company
It is a drink used in great meals and unlike wine -which you easily tend to drink on your own-, baijiu calls for social connection, a reflected characteristic of its society. Banquets, round tables are the main situations to taste baijiu.
3. There are different types of baijiu
Divides into different kinds of liqueurs. There are four types of flavors: rice, light, strong and sauce. In addition to this there are fruity and floral flavors, spicy.
4. You must drink Red Star
Red Star has existed for approximately 800 years. It is the emblematic brand of the baijiu of sorghum, the most popular. It comes from Beijing and it’s absurdly cheap, about $2 a bottle. Its alcohol content by volume is however high, reaching 60%.
5. A bar to taste baijiu: Capital Spirits
If you are looking for a place to get into baijiu you should visit the bar dedicated entirely to the Chinese liquor, Capital Spirits. Here you will find a cool and welcoming atmosphere. Located in an alley of Hutong Residences, is a speakeasy essential of the city and to enter you must buzz the interphone. The baijiu tasting consists of a flight of 4 types of baijiu, in the first level reaching up to flights of 12 shots for the most adventurous.
Capital Spirits Bar and Distillery 辛寺胡同16号（XINSI HUTONG #16)
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.