For thousands of years, alcohol has played a part in the Chinese way of life. From farmers to politicians and from Emperors to paupers, alcohol has touched all parts of Chinese life. It has caused wars and brought about peace, it has inspired poets and artists. It is a way of life, ingrained into Chinese lore and it runs through their veins.
1) Has anyone heard of of baijiu?
Simply put, it is a Chinese white spirit, pronounced “by Joe” but by my opening lines you can see it goes much deeper than that, which you will find out more when reading Baijiu Blog, but first a few facts,
2) What is the biggest selling spirit in the world?
It is baijiu, with over 17 billion litres of the drink produced each year, this means that baijiu accounts for over two thirds of the world’s production of spirit.
The word baijiu was derived from the word bai meaning transparent and jiu meaning alcoholic drink. Also known as samshu, baigan. In imperial China it was called shaojiu or burnt wine.
3) What does Bajiu taste like?
When we discuss baijiu, many people misunderstand the variety available to the spirit. Rather than just a single drink, baijiu is actually similar to gin, rum or whiskey in that there are a variety of different flavours available. Every distillery in China prides themselves on the unique approach they take in their way of production, but there are four main categories, which are strong aroma baijiu, light aroma baijiu, sauce aroma baijiu and rice aroma baijiu.
Scent is the driving force of baijiu, and that’s what helps identify which grouping a particular bottle falls into. After the main four aromas, there are a myriad of sub categories, with each one having its own unique taste and aroma.
5) What percent alcohol is it?
It ranges from 35% up to 67% but the average is 48% to 52% it can go as high as 76%. but this is not commonly available.
6) The health benefits of baijiu!
Who would have thought of a health giving hard liquor. Yet, the Chinese national drink, Baijiu defiles all odds by making hard liquor, health giving. We know that grape wine is good for the heart and body, but Chinese baijiu exceeds the efficacy of grape wine as it confers many health giving properties. Consequently drinking a small amount of Chinese baijiu every day, keeps one in good health and prolongs life. Read more – Is Baijiu Healthy?
7) Alcohol to communicate with the spirit world
The Chinese have been drinking long before recorded history, the ancient Chinese drank to transcend their reality, with alcohol they found a window into the spirit world, to communicate with their gods and the dead.
8) Baijiu the beginning
As Chinese civilization began to form, wine became a prized possession and kings maintained court brewers to make drinks, which were used to cement friendships and win over enemies. They made countless drinks but one that beat them all was made from grain, alcohol fermented from naturally harvested yeast. The drink was called jiu and the yeast was called qu. Read more – The history of baijiu
9) What is Qu?
The fermenting agent called qu, pronounced chew, was invented around 200 A.D. To make huangjiu or yellow wine.
Qu is very important in making baijiu as each brick of qu can contain hundreds of yeasts, moulds and micro-organisms, all naturally cultivated from the air. The role of qu is to break down the starch in the grain and turn them into fermentable sugars to turn into alcohol. Read more – What is Qu?
10) Drink of the people
1949 and the peoples republic of China is born, With it came the elevation of their favourite drink. The state modernised Chinese breweries by setting up regional distilleries throughout the country. Techniques that had been handed down from master to apprentice are recorded and coded, styles are classified production standards and quality rise. Read more – Baijiu drinking culture