Baijiu is big. More than 10 billion liters drank per year big. But your tastebuds probably haven’t experienced it—yet.

by Marjorie Perry

Have you heard about baijiu? You will soon. Pungent, distinctive, and clear as mineral water, the national drink of China is often cited as the most consumed liquor in the world. Despite whiskey’s grip on the globe, and the boom of agave spirits like tequila and mezcal, it’s the PRC’s sheer population alone—1.4 billion strong—that gives baijiu the considerable edge.

However, outside of China, the dynamite-in-a-bottle booze remains mostly a novelty. (Allegedly, even the baijiu bought outside China is bought mostly by Chinese people capturing discounted prices at duty-free kiosks.) But that could all be about to change. Lately, the spirit has been popping up abroad, from London to New York, while also evolving and taking on new iterations back home. Here, a brief intro to baijiu, as well as how to experience it on your next trip to Beijing…

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Image courtesy of Shwangtianyuan (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

April 09, 2019