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 Cocktails for a Crowd (Chronicle Books, 2013) as well as a forthcoming book, also from Chronicle, about equal-parts cocktails. Email: spirits@wineenthusiast.net



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