China and the Demon Drink
Posted on June 29, 2011 by herschelian.
China has been producing alcohol for some 5000 years. Although the country is beginning to produce increasing quantities of wine (more on which in a later post), the alcoholic drink that typifies China is baijiu (pronounced ‘buy-jee-oo’) aka shaojiu which translates as white wine/white alcohol/white spirits.
Unlike the Japanese ‘rice wine’ sake which is brewed, baijiu is a distilled spirit produced from a base of fermented grain – this can be wheat, sorghum, millet, glutinous rice or even a mixture of grains. It has a typical ABV (alcohol by volume) of 40-70% (80-120 proof) which is far higher than most spirits commonly drunk in the West. Supermarket shelves groan with dozens of brands of baijiu, many of them in beautiful bottles, elaborately packaged in boxes lined with silk – these are usually expensive and used as gifts, but there are also the bottles of everyday drinking baijiu which is consumed in vast quantities – and I do mean vast.
There are many types of baijiu, but they all fall into one of two broad groups, either flavoured or unflavoured. Flavoured baijius are uncommon, produced in small quantities for local consumption, for baijiu afficionados or as TMC. Unflavoured varieties are the most usual, and some of Read more .. http://herschelian.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/china-and-the-demon-drink/