Baijiu Buying Tips

An introduction to the world’s most popular drink you’ve never heard of: Baijiu.

The flavorful and insanely strong liquor has landed in America. The shots are small, but they add up: Baijiu consumption represents one-third of all the liquor put away on the planet each year. Look out Tequila, this tasty shooter has you in its sights.


What It Is:

Baijiu (bye-jyo; the “j” is soft) is a clear, Chinese, 100-plus-proof liquor made from sorghum and other grains. Because it’s the most-imbibed booze in a country of 1.3 billion people, consumption of this stiff stuff represents one-third of all the alcohol downed worldwide.


How to Drink It

Traditionally served at banquets where guests go shot-for-shot with the host, it’s poured at room temperature in one-ounce shot glasses. Say “ganbei!” (gan-bay), sip it all—savor it for a few seconds—then swallow.


Where To Try It In A Cocktail

Peking Tavern, Los Angeles
The Order: The Wong Chiu Punch, with baijiu, hibiscus and lemon juice.


3 Drink-Worthy Baijius

Moutai Feitian
Earthy and grassy, with a hint of cocoa.

Shui Jing Fang Wellbay 
Tropical fruit flavors from start to finish.

Luzhou Laojiao Zisha
Packed with lychee and banana notes.

Published on August 14, 2014
Topics: Asian spirits, cocktail culture
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She's the author of Shake.Stir.Sip.: 40 Effortless Cocktails Made In Equal Parts (Chronicle Books, coming fall 2016) as well as Cocktails for a Crowd (Chronicle Books, 2013).   Email: spirits@wineenthusiast.net



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