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There is a long history of alcoholic drinks in China.[1] They include rice and grape wine, beer, and various liquors including baijiu, the most-consumed distilled spirit in the world.

Modern Chinese beers derive from the Russian and German breweries established at Harbin and Qingdao. Most are pale lagers, although other styles are available, particularly in brewpubs catering to the expatriate communities in Beijing and Shanghai.

The principal Chinese brands are Tsingtao, Harbin, and Snow. Other major brewers include Yanjing, San Miguel, Zhujiang, and Russian and German breweries established at Harbin and Qingdao. Most are pale lagers, although other styles are available, particularly in brewpubs catering to the expatriate communities in Beijing and Shanghai.

The principal Chinese brands are Tsingtao, Harbin, and Snow. Other major brewers include Yanjing, San Miguel, Zhujiang, a

The principal Chinese brands are Tsingtao, Harbin, and Snow. Other major brewers include Yanjing, San Miguel, Zhujiang, and Reeb.

Domestic production within China is dominated by a few large vinyards, including Changyu Pioneer Wine, China Great Wall Wine, and Dynasty Wine[14][15] Notable regions include Yantai, Beijing, Zhangjiakou in Hebei, Yibin in Sichuan, Tonghua in Jilin, Taiyuan in Shanxi, and Ningxia. Yantai alone holds over 140 wineries and produces 40% of the country's wine.[14]

Traditional Uyghur wine from Xinjiang is known as museles (Arabicالمثلث, lit. "the triangle"). Its production requires crushing the grapes by hand, then straining them through Uyghur wine from Xinjiang is known as museles (Arabicالمثلث, lit. "the triangle"). Its production requires crushing the grapes by hand, then straining them through atlas silk and boiling the juice with an equal volume of water, as well as added sugar. This is cooked until the original volume of the juice is reached and then stored in clay urns along with various flavorings.

A controversial drink that is still nowadays sold in the black market of the country is Tiger Bone Wine: this tonic is created crushing and mixing the bones with rice wine, in a long process that lasts for at least 8 years. The drink has a high alcohol concentration, of about 58% and is used in both traditional Chinese Medicine and Martial Arts, and has been on the market for centuries.

Other fermented beverages include choujiu (made from sticky rice), lychee wine, gouqi jiu (made from wolfberries), Qingke jiu (made from Tibetan highland barley), and kumis (made from mare or yak milk). The peach-scented Luzhou Laojiao prides itself on continuous production since 1573 during the Ming dynasty. The ginger-flavored liqueur Canton is no longer produced in China but is instead imported for consumption in the United States from a distillery in France unrelated to its original production.

Culture

Chinese alcoholic beverages have a long history both as a part of diet and ceremonies (both secular and religious), as well as being a part of the productive activities of many households and commercial establishments.

Cuisine

Chinese alcoholic beverages were traditionally warmed before being consumed, a practice going back to the early dynastic period. The temperature to which the liquor may be warmed ranges between approximately 35 and 55 °C, well below the boiling point of ethanol. Warming the liquor allows its aromas to be better appreciated by the drinker without losing too much alcohol. The optimal temperature for warming depends on the type of beverage as well as the preference of the drinker.

Traditionally, also, the drinks are consumed together with food rather than on their own. Neither practice is binding in modern China.

In addition to being used to brew liquor, the seed mash described above can also be made to be eaten or drunk as a sweet dessert.

Traditional Chinese medicine frequently employed alcoholic drinks (associated with yin) and alcoholic drinks were likewise used as medicine. Alcohol including extracts of plants, herbs, animal parts, or minerals are not as common as they once were but may still be encountered. One example of such a medicinal alcoholic drink is realgar wine: consumed during the Dragon Boat Festival, realgar wine consisted of huangjiu mixed with realgar, an arsenic sulfide also used as an insecticide. It appears in the Chinese legend of the White Snake as the substance which forces the snake to reveal her true form. The drink was thought to prevent disease and misfortune (particularly snake bites and digestive worms) and to promote health; although modern Chinese authorities discourage the practice, it is still legally available for consumption.

See also