A Chinese proverb says: “No liquor, no feast.”
Drinking strong spirits is an important part of many ceremonies in China from wedding receptions and business banquets to reunion gatherings.
Many visitors to some parts of China have been undone by the fearsome custom of showing generosity and friendship by persuading guests to drink themselves into a stupor.
Baijiu was probably first distilled in the top and middle reaches of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers.
Maotai, Wuliangye, Luzhou Laojiao, Xifeng, and Fenjiu are China’s most famous baijiu brands.
Among them, Maotai is dubbed China’s national liquor and is often served at state banquets.
When former U.S. president Richard Nixon first visited China in 1972, he toasted Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai with a shot glass filled with Maotai.
The drink accounts for almost a third of all spirits sales around the world, but nearly all of the consumers are in China. This might be changing.
A Canadian man in Beijing is organizing this year’s third annual World Baijiu Day — see worldbaijiuday.com — and baijiu bars are opening in Europe and the U.S.
New York’s first baijiu bar is Lumos, located at 90 West Houston Street.