Have you ever had or even heard of baijiu? Unlike tequila, whiskey, or vodka, baijiu has yet to become popular in the west. The Chinese national alcohol is already the most popular spirit in terms of sales volume, with annual output exceeding the sum of vodka and whiskey sales combined. If you want to learn about this highly popular, unheard of drink, here is a short guide for you:
What is Baijiu?
White spirit in China (Chinese liquor) is referred to as baijiu in Chinese language. It is the lifeblood of Chinese civilization. Since ancient times, it has shaped the religion and customs of this country. It is a complex beverage, with a long history. For the uninitiated palate, the smell and taste of baijiu can be rather strong, making it hard to appreciate at first. However, just like with your first cup of coffee, or your first sip of beer, you can learn to enjoy the distinct savory flavor.
How is Baijiu Made?
Baijiu is usually made by mixing steamed sorghum grains, water, and a unique fermentation agent called qu. The solid mash is then fermented in a pits covered by mud. or buried jar. Qu helps the process of grain saccharification, where starches are turned into sugars, which can then ferment. Fermentation is then followed by the distillation process in special stills. The resulting spirit is often still blended and aged in buried jars.
Various Types of Baijiu
The varieties of baijiu can be as different as whiskey and gin. Although people often discuss baijiu as a single type of alcohol, it is divided into various categories. In terms of raw materials, production methods, and taste, liquor can be quite different. The current classification system is a modern innovation, not without its limitations, but it is a useful reference point for any drinker. The flavors can be unique and unfamiliar to the western palate. For this lack of reference, the taste can be challenging to describe.
Baijiu in Chinese Business Culture
Drinking culture is essential in China, and the ritual of drinking baijiu is typically a vital part of building and maintaining relationships. In Chinese culture, the aspect of gaining face is still inseparably interweaved with a few rounds of baijiu shots. What’s more, baijiu is usually served in tiny stemmed glasses and toasted over one meal for many times. It is traditionally downed in one gulp. To prove that you have finished every single droplet of the liquid, you need to turn the glass upside down. Drinking baijiu, as with any spirit in other cultures, can help bridge the culture gap. Your Chinese hosts will be appreciative of your willingness to try their hospitable offer.
Lately, one of the Chinese alcohol labels called Jiangxiaobai is widely popular, especially among youngsters. It is a major player in the renaissance of this traditional drink and advocates the practices of making baijiu increasingly palatable and fashionable. While the conventional techniques are inherited since generations, the modern production facilities enable constant innovation. For instance, brand products BLUE FEELING and JOYOUTH are both designed to feature a silky and mild aroma, followed by lingering sweet aftertaste. The combination of fruity and floral reaches a delicate balance, which serves well continuing and satisfying aroma and flavor hold.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a little more knowledge and maybe even curiosity about the mysterious drink from China. Baijiu can bring a whole new flavor palette to the international spirits family. When someone drinks it, he or she participates in a tradition that spans more than 7000 years. If you would like to actively experience the culture and taste of baijiu, you might start with a bottle of light-aroma baijiu. Jiangxiaobai would be the right choice for that.