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Chinese booze

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  • Harry
    Article seen in The Beijing Scene Slainte! regards Harry Baijiu Fun & Games Hey Ayi, Every time I go to a restaurant, there seems to be a table of people
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 1, 2006
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      Article seen in "The Beijing Scene"

      Slainte!
      regards Harry


      Baijiu Fun & Games

      Hey Ayi,
      Every time I go to a restaurant, there seems to be a table of people
      shouting and waving their arms over innumerable bottles of a
      pungent smelling liquid. What is this strange brew and why all the
      shouting?
      Signed,
      Tea-totaller



      Dear Teahead,
      You have obviously not visited your local bar, otherwise you would
      know that these arm-flailing Chinese are not fighting but partaking
      in one of many activities that accompany public drinking. The clear
      liquid they are guzzling is probably a local brand of baijiu, a
      grain-based spirit with an alcohol content between 20 and 60
      percent. Literally translated as 'white alcohol' and containing
      enough ethanol to kill all known germs, this national beverage has
      been around even longer than Ayi herself.

      The term jiu is actually applied with great impartiality to all
      kinds of alcohol, whether fermented from grains or distilled as a
      spirit. Liquor fermented from grains (known ubiquitously as 'rice
      wine') is probably the earliest example of alcohol in China, with
      references dating back to the pre-historical Shang dynasty and
      involving a basic process of brewing raw ingredients in boiling
      water. Baijiu is the spirit variety produced by a two-step
      fermentation and distillation process and can be broadly categorized
      either by the yeast used, by the flavor, or by aroma and can be
      separated into three types: nongxiang (aromatic), qingxiang (faint
      scent), jianxiangxing ('light' flavor).

      The origins of jiu are shrouded in myth and mystery, with stories
      ranging from a concoction of grains and animal milk heated up by the
      primitive Huang Di people to a legend telling of a celestial brew
      created by the 'god of alcoholic drinks' when the universe began.
      The most popular myth concerns a certain Yi De, cook to the
      legendary Emperor Yu of the Xia dynasty, who invented the alcohol by
      accidentally leaving a crock of forgotten rice to ferment. Upon
      tasting it, the cook decided to throw a banquet in celebration,
      which left them all incapacitated the next day. To avoid future
      recurrence, the emperor imposed three strict rules for wine-
      drinkers: Wine must be served in tiny cups instead of rice bowls,
      one must eat while drinking, and one must indulge in some form of
      exercise while drinking.

      Thus began a complex tradition of drinking etiquette. Before Western
      drinking customs began to invade the East, the Chinese mainly
      imbibed alcohol in conjunction with eating, and it is therefore a
      prominent feature of banquets and feasts, particularly at weddings
      and other special events. On such occasions, when inviting others to
      drink, the host or guest should both rise from their seats, place
      two fingers beneath the cup while toasting and raise it again after
      downing the jiu in one swig. The 'drinking-by-polite-urges'
      phenomenon, experimented at many a Chinese feast, is a traditional
      gesture of hospitality in which both host and guests alike persuade
      each other to drink cup after cup in turn until one or the other
      either vomits or passes out.

      As solitary drinkers have traditionally been looked down upon in
      Chinese society, innumerable finger games, number games, and word
      games to play while drinking have been devised so as to seem
      suitably convivial. The most common is the 'finger-guessing' game,
      which involves two or more participants, a seemingly endless supply
      of alcohol, and a lot of unintelligible shouting and hand-shaking.
      In fact, even the simple-minded foreigner can master the rules of
      this engaging pastime, which simply requires both drinkers to
      stretch out fingers in a certain shape representing a certain number
      between one and 20. If the number said by one of the drinkers is
      equal to the total represented by both drinkers hands, he is the
      winner. As with drinking games worldwide, the loser has to drink.

      If the pungent effects of the local rotgut have deterred you from
      partaking in such drinking games, your Ayi can point you in the
      direction of some smoother regional varieties of baijiu. Probably
      the most famous alternative is Maotai, which hails from Guizhou
      province and has a taste and texture uncannily like soy sauce.
      Spirits from Sichuan and Jiangsu, known as 'high-flavor' drinks, are
      sweeter, made from a combination of wheat, barley and rice. There
      are also several wines used for their medicinal properties to
      promote good health and virility. Often on display on restaurant
      counters, these large jars contain a hotchpotch of ingredients,
      varying in taste and composition. Ayi's personal favorite is the
      Cantonese snake wine, a green and virulent concoction made from
      snakes pickled in spirits and taken as a tonic. Unfortunately
      though, much of the baijiu nowadays is watered-down by greedy
      companies, which is why I have taken to making my own moonshine.
      Ganbei! (Bottoms Up!)
    • Dave Nay
      In 2001 when on vacation in China, I purchased a bottle of this booze. One of my traveling companions and I sat down one evening to sample it. Pouring a shot
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 2, 2006
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        In 2001 when on vacation in China, I purchased a bottle of this booze.
        One of my traveling companions and I sat down one evening to sample it.
        Pouring a shot for each of us, we toasted our health and lifted the
        glasses to our lips. Luckily, we were both somewhat cautious, and we
        each took a sniff, and a gentle sip instead of shooting it down.

        After we each had a sip, it took about 5 minutes of coughing and eye
        watering before we were able to pour our shots back into the bottle, and
        give it away to the nearest busboy (who was very thankful and gave
        excellent service the rest of the evening!).

        I never want to experience that crap again! LOL

        Dave

        Harry wrote:
        > Article seen in "The Beijing Scene"
        >
        > Slainte!
        > regards Harry
        >
        >
        > Baijiu Fun & Games
        >
        > Hey Ayi,
        > Every time I go to a restaurant, there seems to be a table of people
        > shouting and waving their arms over innumerable bottles of a
        > pungent smelling liquid. What is this strange brew and why all the
        > shouting?
        > Signed,
        > Tea-totaller
        >
        >
        >
        > Dear Teahead,
        > You have obviously not visited your local bar, otherwise you would
        > know that these arm-flailing Chinese are not fighting but partaking
        > in one of many activities that accompany public drinking. The clear
        > liquid they are guzzling is probably a local brand of baijiu, a
        > grain-based spirit with an alcohol content between 20 and 60
        > percent. Literally translated as 'white alcohol' and containing
        > enough ethanol to kill all known germs, this national beverage has
        > been around even longer than Ayi herself.
        >
        > The term jiu is actually applied with great impartiality to all
        > kinds of alcohol, whether fermented from grains or distilled as a
        > spirit. Liquor fermented from grains (known ubiquitously as 'rice
        > wine') is probably the earliest example of alcohol in China, with
        > references dating back to the pre-historical Shang dynasty and
        > involving a basic process of brewing raw ingredients in boiling
        > water. Baijiu is the spirit variety produced by a two-step
        > fermentation and distillation process and can be broadly categorized
        > either by the yeast used, by the flavor, or by aroma and can be
        > separated into three types: nongxiang (aromatic), qingxiang (faint
        > scent), jianxiangxing ('light' flavor).
        >
        > The origins of jiu are shrouded in myth and mystery, with stories
        > ranging from a concoction of grains and animal milk heated up by the
        > primitive Huang Di people to a legend telling of a celestial brew
        > created by the 'god of alcoholic drinks' when the universe began.
        > The most popular myth concerns a certain Yi De, cook to the
        > legendary Emperor Yu of the Xia dynasty, who invented the alcohol by
        > accidentally leaving a crock of forgotten rice to ferment. Upon
        > tasting it, the cook decided to throw a banquet in celebration,
        > which left them all incapacitated the next day. To avoid future
        > recurrence, the emperor imposed three strict rules for wine-
        > drinkers: Wine must be served in tiny cups instead of rice bowls,
        > one must eat while drinking, and one must indulge in some form of
        > exercise while drinking.
        >
        > Thus began a complex tradition of drinking etiquette. Before Western
        > drinking customs began to invade the East, the Chinese mainly
        > imbibed alcohol in conjunction with eating, and it is therefore a
        > prominent feature of banquets and feasts, particularly at weddings
        > and other special events. On such occasions, when inviting others to
        > drink, the host or guest should both rise from their seats, place
        > two fingers beneath the cup while toasting and raise it again after
        > downing the jiu in one swig. The 'drinking-by-polite-urges'
        > phenomenon, experimented at many a Chinese feast, is a traditional
        > gesture of hospitality in which both host and guests alike persuade
        > each other to drink cup after cup in turn until one or the other
        > either vomits or passes out.
        >
        > As solitary drinkers have traditionally been looked down upon in
        > Chinese society, innumerable finger games, number games, and word
        > games to play while drinking have been devised so as to seem
        > suitably convivial. The most common is the 'finger-guessing' game,
        > which involves two or more participants, a seemingly endless supply
        > of alcohol, and a lot of unintelligible shouting and hand-shaking.
        > In fact, even the simple-minded foreigner can master the rules of
        > this engaging pastime, which simply requires both drinkers to
        > stretch out fingers in a certain shape representing a certain number
        > between one and 20. If the number said by one of the drinkers is
        > equal to the total represented by both drinkers hands, he is the
        > winner. As with drinking games worldwide, the loser has to drink.
        >
        > If the pungent effects of the local rotgut have deterred you from
        > partaking in such drinking games, your Ayi can point you in the
        > direction of some smoother regional varieties of baijiu. Probably
        > the most famous alternative is Maotai, which hails from Guizhou
        > province and has a taste and texture uncannily like soy sauce.
        > Spirits from Sichuan and Jiangsu, known as 'high-flavor' drinks, are
        > sweeter, made from a combination of wheat, barley and rice. There
        > are also several wines used for their medicinal properties to
        > promote good health and virility. Often on display on restaurant
        > counters, these large jars contain a hotchpotch of ingredients,
        > varying in taste and composition. Ayi's personal favorite is the
        > Cantonese snake wine, a green and virulent concoction made from
        > snakes pickled in spirits and taken as a tonic. Unfortunately
        > though, much of the baijiu nowadays is watered-down by greedy
        > companies, which is why I have taken to making my own moonshine.
        > Ganbei! (Bottoms Up!)
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Distillers list archives : http://archive.nnytech.net/
        > FAQ and other information at http://homedistiller.org
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • duds2u
        I was in Shanghai in 1984 at a formal dinner. After about 10 courses we got to the toasting stage of the dinner and yes, it was this stuff and there were a
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 2, 2006
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          I was in Shanghai in 1984 at a formal dinner. After about 10
          courses we got to the toasting stage of the dinner and yes, it was
          this stuff and there were a couple of hours of toasts. I can
          guarantee that it tastes and smells just as bad coming back up as it
          does going down.
          Even in my early days of distilling I couldn't make anything that
          bad.
          Cheers
          Mal T

          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Dave Nay <dave.nay@...> wrote:
          >
          > In 2001 when on vacation in China, I purchased a bottle of this
          booze.
          > One of my traveling companions and I sat down one evening to
          sample it.
          > Pouring a shot for each of us, we toasted our health and lifted
          the
          > glasses to our lips. Luckily, we were both somewhat cautious, and
          we
          > each took a sniff, and a gentle sip instead of shooting it down.
          >
          > After we each had a sip, it took about 5 minutes of coughing and
          eye
          > watering before we were able to pour our shots back into the
          bottle, and
          > give it away to the nearest busboy (who was very thankful and gave
          > excellent service the rest of the evening!).
          >
          > I never want to experience that crap again! LOL
          >
          > Dave
          >

          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > Distillers list archives : http://archive.nnytech.net/
          > > FAQ and other information at http://homedistiller.org
          > > Yahoo! Groups Links
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
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