It’s Time To Get Into The Spirit Of World Baijiu Day
Baijiu — A remarkably new yet an ubiquitous tipple of China.
There’s a good chance that you are familiar with vodka, whiskey, gin etc. But there’s also a good chance that people who know their way around bar are unfamiliar with Baijiu, which ironically is a widely drunk liquor, rarely found on cocktail menus. Fortunately, there’s never been a better time than this to acquaint ourselves with the national spirit of China.
Beginning in 2015, Beijing based writer and consultant in wine business, Jim Boyce, invented the World Baijiu Day to be celebrated on August 9th, as a way to highlight the existing love and interest for the liquor and generate some more. This day invites everyone to join in the fun and get familiar with the China’s most notorious white liquor. Jim also runs the wine blog Grape Wall of China and nightlife blog Beijing Boyce.
“With 20 billion bottles per year, baijiu represents a third of global spirits sales, but is surprisingly little-known beyond its home base of China. World Baijiu Day aims to change that with events in dozens of cities," said Boyce.
Baijiu means “white liquor” and is most commonly distilled from sorghum, but is also made from rice, wheat, corn and millet. This is the go-to drink in China and rules every occasion be it a festival, wedding reception or celebration of Lunar New Year.
It is traditionally served neat at room temperature, meant to be drunk straight as shots in the “ganbei” (dry the glass) style. Although this day encourages people to go beyond ganbei and try out baijiu inspired cocktails, infusions, chocolates, ice cream etc.
To make this day truly adventurous try out these popular baijiu brands:
Maotai or Moutai – It is distilled from fermented sorghum and comes in different varieties. It is the best known traditional Chinese brand in the world. The unique climate and vegetation of the Maotai town contributes to the taste of the drink.
Fenjui – It is a light-aroma baijiu produced in Xinghua village. It is fermented with qu made from barley and peas. The brewing process is characterized by double fermentation and double distillation in order to increase the yield of ethanol. Xinghua Village is featured in the poem "Qing Ming" from famous poet Du Mu of Tang Dynasty, which is mandatory reading for primary school.
Lang Jiu – A relatively shorter history compared to the other baijiu brands, Lang Jiu was first produced in Luzhou City in Sichuan Province a little over 100 years ago. It is the only baijiu company that can produce three different fragrances: Sauce Frangrance, Thick Fragranc and Layered Fragrance.
Shui Jing Fang – This baijiu distillery was founded 600 years ago and has been named as the oldest brewery in the world by Guinness world record. Shui Jing Fang has a Strong aroma which indicates it is concentrated and rich. One can get notes of sour plums with a bitter sweetness. It is aged for a minimum of five years, but blended with spirits aged up to 40 years and filtered with activated charcoal.
Wuliangye – It is a strong, aged distilled liquor produced in Yibin, Sichuan Province. Wuliangye uses five grains including wheat, rice, corn, sorghum, and glutinous rice hence the name "Five-Grain Drink". Wuliangye features lasting flavors, mellow savor, luscious and refreshing tastes.