Baijiu is a kind of alcohol native and revered by the Chinese people. On the contrary, it is one of the most misunderstood drinks by the westerners. It is a traditional fermented alcoholic drink mainly made through the fermentation of sorghum. The Chinese could also use rice and wheat to make the drink although this does not entirely explain why the drink is known as “rice wine” in English.
Over the years, baijiu has become a common drink for the Chinese as this can now be spotted with almost every meal at the dining table. With its common appearance, it is a culture likely to be adopted by many other cultures.
For the sake of other cultures, they should know how to drink baijiu.
Evolution of Baijiu
Historically, baijiu came about in the 1270s during the Song and the Yuan dynasties. Around the time when the foreign distillation techniques were first introduced to China. However, alcohol was already present in China as early as 5,800 BC and used by the religious and political elite.
Currently, the drink is taken at most meals with the company of others. Traditionally the rules of engagement were extreme. Breaching any would have led to your execution. Today they are relaxed. Arriving late would cost you three glass shots before joining the others.
Here are some of the rules of engagement that can guide you to how baijiu is drunk:
- You must serve your neighbor as a sign of taking care of your comrades.
- Fill the glass to the brim as not doing so is a sign of inhospitality and stinginess.
- Always toast before drinking together.
- When someone honors you in a toast you should honor them back.
- Undercut other drinker’s glass as a sign of respect.
- Drink your entire shot.
Given the popularity rise in baijiu, different brands have emerged to satisfy the demand of the Chinese people. Some of the best baijiu brands include Gu Jing Gong, Shui Jing Fang, Wu Liang Ye, and Moutai.
When in China, don’t be shocked when you are offered with baijiu at a meal. It is a gesture of honor and respect.