The Info List - Baijiu

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(Chinese: 白酒; pinyin: báijiǔ), also known as shaojiu, is a Chinese alcoholic beverage made from grain. Báijiǔ literally means "white (clear) alcohol" or liquor, and is a strong distilled spirit, generally 52% alcohol by volume (ABV) (US: 104° proof). Báijiǔ is a clear liquid usually distilled from fermented sorghum, although other grains may be used; southern China
versions may employ glutinous rice, while northern Chinese varieties may use wheat, barley, millet, or even Job's tears (yìyǐ) instead of sorghum. The jiuqu starter culture used in the production of baijiu mash is usually made of pulverized wheat grains.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Because of its clarity, baijiu can appear similar to several other East Asian liquors, but it generally has a significantly higher alcohol content than, for example, Japanese shōchū (25%) or Korean soju (20–45%). It is closer to vodka in strength and mouth-feel. It is the most widely consumed spirit (alcohol) in the world, with 5 billion litres sold in 2016.[7]


1 History 2 Serving 3 Pricing 4 Classification 5 Types

5.1 Unflavored 5.2 Flavored

6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links

History[edit] Chinese liquor, which has been made for over 5000 years,[8][9][10] is characterized by a double semisolid-state fermentation using fungi as the main microbial starter for the saccharification. This is a typical feature of liquors produced in the Far East. The brewing of Chinese baijiu mainly uses grain except for a few that use fruit.[11][12][13] Serving[edit] The Chinese traditionally serve baijiu either warm[14] or at room temperature in a small ceramic bottle. They then pour the baijiu into small cups. Baijiu
may be purchased as a set of items consisting of bottles of baijiu, a small heater, and four to six small cups.[citation needed] The serving method and containers are similar to those used for sake and soju, though baijiu differs significantly. Baijiu
is generally sold in glass or ceramic bottles and consumed in shot glasses, much like vodka. It is traditional to drink baijiu with food rather than on its own, though the latter is not uncommon. In 2007, a report in Time magazine mentioned integrating baijiu into cocktails.[15] Pricing[edit] Low grades of baijiu can be quite inexpensive; a bottle of roughly 250 ml (8 oz) may be purchased for the same price as a can of beer .[citation needed] However, higher grades, which are often aged for many years, can command much higher prices. The highest grade of Wuliangye retails for CN¥26,800 (US$3,375).[16] Some popular varieties of baijiu include Gujing, Maotai, Kaoliang wine, erguotou, Luzhou Laojiao, and Wuliangye. Classification[edit]

Crockery jars of locally-made baijiu in a liquor store in Haikou, Hainan, China, with signs indicating alcoholic content and price per jin (500 grams)

Unlike huangjiu, which has a wide variety of classification methods, baijiu are grouped primarily by their fragrance. Baijiu
has a distinctive smell and taste that is highly valued in Chinese culinary culture. Connoisseurs of the beverage focus especially on its fragrance. However, taking into account of the thousands of years of baijiu history, this classification according to aroma only started in August 1979, for the convenience of the third nationwide baijiu competition held in the city of Dalian. Even so, during the competition, experts rated various baijiu based on their taste rather than aroma. Nowadays, this aroma classification has become a limitation for the further development and continuation of the vast variety of baijiu, many of which taste brilliant but do not have the distinct fragrance types so widely studied in recent decades. Furthermore, many fragrance categories are simply an advertising hype, in order to distinguish a particular brand from other brands.

"Sauce" fragrance (醬香, jiàngxiāng): A highly fragrant distilled liquor of bold character, named for its similarity in flavor to Chinese fermented bean pastes and soy sauces. To the Western palate, sauce fragrance baijiu can be quite challenging. It has large amounts of ester compounds, which in combination with the ethanol in the liquor, imparts a sharp solvent-like note. To the initiated, it is quite delicious and is considered the perfect complement for fine preserved and pickled foods (醬菜, jìangcài). This class is also referred to as "Mao-scented" (茅香), after the best known liquor of this class, Maotai. Strong fragrance (濃香 or 瀘香, nóngxiāng or lúxiāng): A class of distilled liquor that is sweet tasting, unctuous in texture, and mellow, with a gentle lasting fragrance contributed by the high levels of esters, primarily ethyl acetate. Most liquors of this class are made using Aspergillus
type starters. An example of this type of liquor is Wuliangye from Yibin
and liuilingzui from hebei. Light fragrance (清香 or 汾香, qīngxiāng or fēnxiāng): Delicate, dry, and light, with a delectable mellow and clean mouthfeel. The flavours of this distilled liquor is contributed primarily by ethyl acetate and ethyl lactate. An example of this kind of liquor is Fenjiu (汾酒, fénjiǔ) from Shanxi. Rice fragrance (米香, mǐxiāng): The character of this class of liquor is exemplified by baijiu distilled from rice, such as Sanhuajiu (三花酒) from Guilin. This type of liquor has long history and is made using Rhizopus
spp.-type starters (the Chinese "little starter"). It has a clean mouth-feel and is slightly aromatic aroma, dominated by ethyl lactate with lesser flavour contributions by ethyl acetate. Phoenix fragrance (凤香, fèngxiāng): A class of distilled liquor fermented in pits and aged in rattan containers. Liquors of this class have a fruity taste similar to strong-aroma baijiu, but also an earthier quality and an expanding finish. An example of this type of liquor is Xifengjiu
from Fengxiang County in Shaanxi. Mixed fragrance (兼香, jiānxiāng): A class of distilled liquors that is a blend of two or more varieties of baijiu. As such, liquors of this class vary widely in their aroma, mouth-feel, and dryness.


A jar of Gaoliang jiu

A glass and bottle of Zhuyeqing jiu from Shanxi


Yanghe (洋河, yánghé): Yanghe Daqu was first made in the Sui and Tang dynasties. It began to flourish in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and was presented as tribute to Qing royals. After the founding of the country, the famous liquor was able to be enjoyed by citizens across the nation. Carrying on millennia of traditional craftsmanship, Yanghe Daqu uses only the highest quality sorghum as a base, and only the best wheat, barley and peas as high-temperature fermenting agents. Fenjiu (汾酒, fénjiǔ): this liquor dates back to the Northern and Southern Dynasties (AD 550). It is the original Chinese sorghum baijiu. Alcohol content
Alcohol content
by volume: 63–65%.[17] Erguotou
(二锅头, èrguōtóu, lit. "head of the second pot") is a strong, clear distilled liquor. It is often inexpensive and thus particularly popular among blue-collar workers across northern and northeastern China. It is probably the most commonly-drunk baijiu in Beijing
and is frequently associated with that city. Red Star (红星, Hóngxīng) is a popular brand. Luzhou Laojiao (泸州老窖): Luzhou Laojiao is one of the most popular liquors within China, with history extending over 400 years. It is famed for the quality of its distillation along with its unique aroma and mouth-feel, the latter of which is due to the unique clay used within the brewing environment, which infuses the spirit with the taste it is so renowned for. Liulingzui jiu(刘伶醉):Brand of Liulingzui originates from Wei and Jin Dynasties, and till now has nearly two- thousand years of history. The wine is made by strictly following the traditional process of Five Untensils. Its special quality is favored by the consumers. Liulingzui has achieved a lot of prizes and awards, such as: Special
Gold Award of the Paris Exposition, the first batch of China
Food Cultural Heritage, the first batch of China’s Time-honored Brand, National Geographical Indication Products and the National Key Cultural Relics Protection Units. Kaoliang wine
Kaoliang wine
(高粱酒, gāoliángjiǔ): Kaoliang is an old spelling for the Chinese word for a specific type of sorghum. The liquor originates from Dazhigu (大直沽, located east of Tianjin), first appearing in the Ming Dynasty. Nowadays, Taiwan
is a large producer of Kaoliang wine. Alcohol content
Alcohol content
by volume: 54–63%.[18] Daqujiu (大麴酒, Dàqūjiǔ): Originally from Sichuan, with 300 years of history. This liquor is made with sorghum and wheat and is fermented for a long time. Alcohol content
Alcohol content
by volume: 52%. Shuangzhengjiu (雙蒸酒, shuāngzhēngjiǔ, lit. "double-distilled liquor") and Sanzhengjiu (三蒸酒, sānzhēngjiǔ, lit. "triple-distilled liquor"): two varieties of rice wine from the area of Jiujiang
in Jiangxi, made by distilling twice and three times respectively. Alcohol content
Alcohol content
by volume: 32% and 38–39% respectively.[19] Wuliangye (五粮液, Wǔliángyè) is a strong, aged distilled liquor produced in the city of Yibin
in southern Sichuan.[20] Its factory includes a Liquor History Museum on its grounds.[21] Wuliangye uses five grains (sorghum, rice, glutinous rice, corn, wheat) as its raw material, hence the name "Five-Grain Drink". The water which is used to brew Wuliangye is from the middle of Min River. Jiugui or Sot (酒鬼, jiǔguǐ, lit. "drunk ghost" or "drunkard") is a clear distilled liquor made from spring water, sorghum, glutinous rice, and wheat. It is produced by the Hunan
Jiugui Liquor Co., Ltd. in the town of Zhenwu
near Jishou
in the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in the western part of Hunan. It ranges from 38% to 54% alcohol by volume.[22] Gujinggongjiu(古井贡酒, gǔjǐinggongjiu, lit. "Tradition liqueur from well") is a traditional Chinese liqueur made from water from a well in Bozhou, Anhui Province. The history began in Southern and Northern dynasty (AD196), people lived in Bozhou found that there was an old well that produced very clean and sweet, so they started use the water to produce the tea and liqueur. Then, it was famous in ancient China
so people contributed this liqueur to the king, Xie Liu who is the emperor of Han. It is produced by the Bozhou Gujinggongjiu Liquor Co., Ltd. at Anhui Province. It ranges from 38% to 50% alcohol by volume.


Mei Kuei Lu Chiew (玫瑰露酒, méiguīlujiǔ, lit. "rose essence liquor"): a variety of Kaoliang wine
Kaoliang wine
distilled with a special species of rose and crystal sugar. Alcohol content
Alcohol content
by volume: 54–55%.[23][24] Moutai
(茅台, Máotái): this liquor has a production history of over 200 years, originally coming from the town of Maotai
in Guizhou. It is made from wheat and sorghum with a unique distilling process that involves seven iterations of the brewing cycle. This liquor became known to the world after winning a gold medal at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition
Panama-Pacific Exposition
in San Francisco, California. Mao Zedong served Moutai
at state dinners during Richard Nixon's state visit to China, and Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
once remarked to Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
that, "if we drink enough Maotai, we can solve anything".[25] Alcohol content
Alcohol content
by volume: 54–55%. Guotai (国台酒, Guotai Spirits) is distilled seven times to produce a crisp, clear flavor, that is perfect for any occasion. The authentic spirit is made from wheat and a special grain – lush Red Sorghum which is meticulously cultivated in China’s agricultural heartland. Asia’s highest quality brand of Baijiu, Guotai uses an ancient Chinese distillation process, resulting in an exceptional hand-crafted spirit that honors tradition. Osmanthus wine
Osmanthus wine
(桂花酒) is a distilled liquor flavored with sweet osmanthus flowers. Its alcohol content is 17–18%.[26] Wu Chia Pi Chiew (五加皮酒, Wǔjiāpíjiǔ): a variety of Kaoliang wine with a unique selection of Chinese herbal medicine
Chinese herbal medicine
(including Angelica sinensis) added to the brew. Alcohol content
Alcohol content
by volume: 54–55%.[27] Yuk Bing Siu Zau (玉冰燒酒, Yùbīng Shāojiǔ) or roulaoshao (肉醪燒, ròuláoshāo): a Cantonese
rice liquor with over 100 years of history, made with steamed rice. After distillation, pork fat is stored with the liquor but removed before bottling. Its name probably derives from the brewing process: in Cantonese, "jade" (yuk) is a homophone of "meat", and bing means "ice", which describes the appearance of the pork fat floating in the liquor. Cantonese
rice wine breweries prospered in the Northern Song Dynasty, when the Foshan
area was exempted from alcohol tax. Alcohol content
Alcohol content
by volume: 30%. Sanhuajiu (三花酒, Sānhuājiǔ, lit. "Three Flowers Liquor"):photo a rice liquor made in Guilin
with allegedly over a thousand-year history. It is famous for the fragrant herbal addition, and the use of spring water from Mount Xiang in the region. Alcohol content by volume: 55–57%.[28] Chu Yeh Ching (竹葉青酒, zhúyèqīnqjiǔ, lit. "bamboo-leaf green liquor"):[29] this sweet liquor, produced in Shanxi, is fenjiu brewed with a dozen or more selected Chinese herbal medicines. One of the ingredients is bamboo leaves, which gives the liquor a yellowish-green color and its name. Its alcohol content ranges between 38 and 46% by volume.[30] To Mei Chiew (荼薇酒, túwéijiǔ) is a Cantonese
liquor produced in Xiaolan Town
Xiaolan Town
near Zhongshan
in Guangdong. It is made from rice wine, with added to mei flowers and crystal sugar syrup. Aged for more than one year. 30% alcohol by volume.[31] Pi Lu Chiew (碧綠酒, bìlǜjiǔ, lit. "jade green liquor"):[32] From Wuhan, this liquor is infused with Chinese medicinal herbs and sugar.[33] Imperial Lotus White Chiew (御蓮白酒, Yàlián báijiǔ): This is a variety of Kaoliang wine
Kaoliang wine
infused with twenty medicinal herbs. It was first produced for the Chinese royal family in 1790.[34] Chajiu (茶酒, chájiǔ, lit. "tea liquor") is a product of fairly recent origin. It consists of Kaoliang wine
Kaoliang wine
flavored with tea leaves and hawthorn berries. It is usually a light reddish-brown in color (similar to oolong tea) and varieties made with oolong, green, and black tea are available. Chajiu is produced by several manufacturers, primarily in the Sichuan
province. Although the strength differs according to the brand and variety, chajiu ranges between 8% and 28% alcohol by volume. Xifeng Jiu

See also[edit]

portal Liquor portal Drink

Chinese alcoholic beverages Wine
in China Huangjiu Oghi Soju


^ Zheng, Xiao‐Wei, et al. "Daqu—A traditional Chinese liquor fermentation starter." Journal of the Institute of Brewing
117.1 (2011): 82-90. ^ Rong and Fa, Grandiose Survey of Chinese Alcoholic Drinks and Beverages, 2013, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-29. Retrieved 2015-05-29.  ^ Xiaoqing Mu et al Solid-State Fermented Alcoholic Beverages, in Chen, Jian, and Yang Zhu, eds. Solid State Fermentation for Foods and Beverages. CRC Press, 2013. ^ Wang, H‐Y., et al. "Characterization and comparison of microbial community of different typical Chinese liquor Daqus by PCR–DGGE." Letters in Applied Microbiology 53.2 (2011): 134-140. ^ Zheng, Xiao-Wei, et al. "Complex microbiota of a Chinese “ Fen” liquor fermentation starter ( Fen- Daqu), revealed by culture-dependent and culture-independent methods." Food microbiology 31.2 (2012): 293-300. ^ Xiong, X., et al. "PCR-DGGE Analysis of the Microbial Communities in Three Different Chinese" Baiyunbian" Liquor Fermentation Starters." Journal of microbiology and biotechnology (2014). ^ "Can China's national drink reignite interest in a new generation?". ABC News. 27 May 2017.  ^ Huang, H. T. "Science and civilisation in China. Volume 6. Biology and biological technology. Part V: fermentations and food science." (2000). ^ Huang et al Chinese Wines: Jiu, in Hui, Yiu H., ed. Handbook of food science, technology, and engineering. Vol. 149. CRC press, 2006. ^ Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. History of Koji-Grains And/or Soybeans Enrobed with a Mold Culture (300 BCE To 2012): Extensively Annotated Bibliography and Sourcebook. Soyinfo Center, 2012. ^ Huang, H. T. "Science and civilisation in China. Volume 6. Biology and biological technology. Part V: fermentations and food science." (2000). ^ Huang et al Chinese Wines: Jiu, in Hui, Yiu H., ed. Handbook of food science, technology, and engineering. Vol. 149. CRC press, 2006. ^ Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. History of Koji-Grains And/or Soybeans Enrobed with a Mold Culture (300 BCE To 2012): Extensively Annotated Bibliography and Sourcebook. Soyinfo Center, 2012. ^ "Launch of New Flavors and Varieties Will Significantly Propel the Demand for Speciality Spirits Through 2020, Says Technavio". BusinessWire. 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2017-03-14.  ^ "Global Adviser". Time. 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2010-04-26.  ^ " Wuliangye Distillery". Cbw.com. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-21.  ^ [1] Archived May 7, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. ^ [2] Archived January 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. ^ [3] Archived February 23, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. ^ " Wuliangye Distillery". Cbw.com. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-21.  ^ " Wuliangye Distillery – Introduction". Cbw.com. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-21.  ^ "Xiangjiugui". Xiangjiugui.cn. Retrieved 2011-06-21.  ^ [4] Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. ^ [5][dead link] ^ Jim Yardley (2008-03-08). "Got a Mint, Comrade? Chinese Ban Liquid Lunch". New York Times.  ^ [6] Archived May 7, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. ^ [7] Archived May 7, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. ^ [8] Archived May 7, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. ^ photo[permanent dead link] ^ [9] Archived February 23, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. ^ [10] Archived May 7, 2005, at the Wayback Machine. ^ photo Archived 2007-01-12 at the Wayback Machine. ^ [11] Archived January 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. ^ [12] Archived February 23, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.

Further reading[edit]

Derek Sandhaus, Baijiu: The Essential Guide to Chinese Spirits (Penguin Australia, 2014).[1]

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Baijiu.

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^ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Baijiu-Essential-Guide-Chinese-Spirits-e