Baijiu

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Baijiu
Jiugui.jpg
A glass and bottle of Jiugui
Chinese name
Chinese白酒
Literal meaningwhite liquor
Alternative Chinese name
Simplified Chinese烧酒
Traditional Chinese燒酒
Min Bei name
Min Bei燒酒
chhaujiu (Jian'ou dialect)
 
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Baijiu
Jiugui.jpg
A glass and bottle of Jiugui
Chinese name
Chinese白酒
Literal meaningwhite liquor
Alternative Chinese name
Simplified Chinese烧酒
Traditional Chinese燒酒
Min Bei name
Min Bei燒酒
chhaujiu (Jian'ou dialect)

Baijiu (Chinese: 白酒; pinyin: báijiǔ), also known as shaojiu, is an alcoholic beverage from China. It is sometimes infelicitously translated as "white wine", but it is in fact a strong distilled spirit, generally about 40–60% alcohol by volume (ABV), and the world's most-consumed liquor .[citation needed]

It is a clear drink usually distilled from sorghum, although other grains may be used: baijiu in southern China often employs glutinous rice, while northern Chinese varieties may use wheat, barley, millet, or even Job's tears in place of sorghum. The jiuqu starter culture used in the production of baijiu mash is usually made of pulverized wheat grains.[citation needed]

Because of its clarity, baijiu can appear similar to several other East Asian liquors, but it generally has a significantly higher alcohol content than, for example, Japanese shōchū (25%) or Korean soju (20–45%). It is closer to vodka in strength and mouth-feel.

History[edit]

Chinese liquor, which has been made for over 5000 years ,[citation needed] is characterized by a double semi-solid state fermentation using fungi as the main microbial starter for the saccharification. This is a typical feature of liquors produced in the Far East. Chinese baijiu is mainly brewed with grain except for a few kinds using fruit.[1]

Modern culture[edit]

Chinese people have always celebrated important occasions with alcohol. They will invite their close friends to a drinking session when someone moves into a new house, marries, starts a new business, even when their children get into a good school. In ancient times, soldiers would celebrate by drinking baijiu after winning a battle. If a warrior fell in a battle, his fellows would scatter baijiu on the ground as part of a memorial ceremony. Today, people just play simple finger-guessing, depending on the volume of drink being consumed. A common phrase exchanged would be, “If we are good friends, then bottoms up; if not, then just take a sip”.

Serving[edit]

Chinese traditionally serve baijiu either warm or at room temperature in a small ceramic bottle. They then pour the baijiu into small cups. Baijiu may be purchased as a set of items consisting of bottles of baijiu, a small heater, and four to six small cups. The serving method and containers are similar to those used for sake and soju, though baijiu differs significantly. Baijiu is generally sold in glass or ceramic bottles and consumed in shot glasses, much like vodka. It is traditional to drink baijiu with food rather than on its own, though the latter is not uncommon.

In 2007, a report in Time magazine mentioned integrating baijiu into cocktails.[2]

Pricing[edit]

Low grades of baijiu can be quite inexpensive; a bottle of roughly 250 mL (8 Ounces) may be purchased for the same price as a can of beer. However, higher grades, which are often aged for many years, often have prices which are artificially manipulated due to the custom of gifting valuables. The highest grade of Wuliangye retails for CN¥ 26,800 (US$3,375).[3] Some popular varieties of baijiu include Moutai, kaoliang, erguotou, Luzhou Laojiao, and Wuliangye.

Classification[edit]

Crockery jars of locally-made baijiu in a liquor store in Haikou, Hainan, China, with signs indicating alcoholic content and price per jin (500 grams)

Unlike huangjiu, which has a wide variety of classification methods, baijiu are grouped primarily by their fragrance. Baijiu has a distinctive smell and taste that is highly valued in Chinese culinary culture. Connoisseurs of the beverage focus especially on its fragrance.

Types of baijiu[edit]

Unflavored[edit]

Flavored[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chinese Alcohol, Chinese Spirits". Time. 2010-10-27. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  2. ^ "Global Adviser". Time. 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  3. ^ "Wuliangye Distillery". Cbw.com. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Jim Yardley (2008-03-08). "Got a Mint, Comrade? Chinese Ban Liquid Lunch". New York Times. 
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ [3][dead link]
  8. ^ "Wuliangye Distillery". Cbw.com. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  9. ^ "Wuliangye Distillery - Introduction". Cbw.com. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  10. ^ "Xiangjiugui". Xiangjiugui.cn. Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  11. ^ [4][dead link]
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  16. ^ photo
  17. ^ [9][dead link]
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External links[edit]