Bottles of baijiu, the famous fiery national drink of China, are increasingly being spotted in trendy bars and restaurants throughout the Western world.
But despite a spike in popularity for the liquor, which in its home country annually outsells combined global sales of whisky, vodka, gin and tequila, newly converted drinkers are being warned that their next bottle of baijiu might not be what it seems.
That’s because criminals have spotted an opportunity to turn a fast profit by watering down expensive bottles of baijiu, or even substituting the entire contents of your bottle with nasty low-grade, industrial liquor.
So how can you tell you’re really getting what you ordered? Here are three simple hacks that will help you spot a bad baijiu:
- 1) The Hand Rub Hack: Pour a few drops of the baijiu in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. If you get a strong whiff of grains it’s more likely you’ve got the good stuff. If you smell nothing but fusel alcohol, beware!
- 2) The Bottle Shake Hack: If your baijiu comes in a clear bottle shake it vigorously to create a head of bubbles. If the bubbles stick around for a couple of seconds you’re onto a winner. If it’s impossible to get bubbles or they dissipate instantly you may have just bought a dud bottle.
- 3) The Tea Hack: Pour a small amount of your baijiu into a bowl. Then pour a little fresh tea on top (make sure you didn’t add any milk!) Good quality baijiu will turn a light golden yellow. Inferior baijiu will turn an alarming shade of purple!
Use these three simple techniques to ensure you only ever drink the best baijiu out there. Ganbei! (That’s Chinese for cheers, in case you were wondering).