|Contents: 1) What Is Baijiu? 2) Baijiu History 3) How Is Baijiu Made? 4) Baijiu Ingredients 5) Types Of Baijiu 6) Baijiu Facts & FAQs 7) How To Drink Baijiu 8) Pairing Baijiu With Food 9) Baijiu Cocktails 10) Popular Baijiu Brands|
|Country of origin||China|
|Alcohol by volume||28-65%|
|“Baijiu” in Chinese characters||白酒|
|Literal meaning||“white (clear) alcohol”|
How To Drink Baijiu – Baijiu Drinking Culture
In 1972, Richard Nixon attended a state banquet offered by Premier Zhou Enlai, second in command to Chairman Mao Zedong. This was a very important trip to further what was called “Sino-American Rapprochement”. In short, the story goes that Nixon’s advisors were naturally worried at what would happen if he became drunk and spoke too freely.
However, despite becoming drunk, so perhaps did Premier Zhou as the meeting went very well and Nixon took some baijiu home with him! The key fact is that it did help Chinese – American relations and as was very much due to drinking Baijiu at a state banquet together. So in other words, Baijiu can be used during diplomatic relations as much as it could to celebrate an occasion such as a wedding!
To expand further on this, the ritual of drinking Baijiu does indeed have recognition in playing a key role in strengthening relationships (guanxi) in business particularly – as one of the key ways in which Baijiu can be drunk is at business dinners. Usually a series of toasts are offered and with each toast, drinkers should raise the small glass to their lips, say Ganbei and drain in one measure. Thankfully the glass is thimble sized but given the strength of Baijiu is usually a minimum of 50%, even a few toasts can mean the effects are powerful.
There is almost a sense of etiquette in drinking Baijiu correctly at these dinners, whether that is a business gathering, a state banquet, a family wedding, a birthday or some other occasion. The etiquette itself remains the same; when a toast is offered, you drink the Baijiu in one go and turn your glass upside down to indicate you have finished the measure. On the way down, you try to lower your glass more than your companion(s) to indicate humility before turning it over.
In many ways – and particularly at occasions such as business dinners, it is expected that the recipient, guest or visitor might be toasted many times. In short, the visitor (even a visiting dignitary) might feel the effects of baijiu. Equally, much advancement in companies have been gained by participating in toasts with the boss, fully embracing the powerful effects of Baijiu and earning ‘face’ within the company.
So if you are doing business in China or attending a function and you see the small thimble glass in front of you, expect to utilize it several times during the occasion and say Ganbei many times. It could just strengthen ties and make a better impression. All thanks to this incredibly powerful but unique drink we know as baijiu.
(Read More: Drinking Baijiu – Chinese Customs & Traditions)
(Read More: Ganbei! Through The Ages)