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The Most Popular Chinese Liquor to Drink

A guide to the spirits of China

China is famous for its diverse range of alcoholic beverages, including baijiu, mijiu, Choujiu, huangjiu, lychee wine, kumis, Qingke jiu, and osmanthus wine.

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chinese liquor

These beverages vary significantly in taste, ingredients, and production methods, and are often drank during important social events or festivals.

Before starting, it is crucial to mention that although these are some of the most popular options, they are not the only popular Chinese drinks. If none of them interest you, there are several other options.


Chinese Liquor

Here we will examine eight of the most popular Chinese liquors, and what makes them fantastic options.

chinese liquors

Baijiu

Baijiu is a version of clear Chinese liquor with a high alcohol content, typically distilled from sorghum or other grains.

Baijiu

It is often described as having a strong, pungent aroma, and is commonly served at formal banquets and business dinners.

Baijiu is often distilled from sorghum or other grains, and manufacturers usually age it for several years. It has a very high alcohol content, typically 40-60%.

Baijiu has a strong, pungent aroma that can be off-putting to some Westerners, but it is highly prized in China and is often considered a symbol of prestige and status.


Mijiu

Mijiu, sometimes known as rice wine or rice liquor, is a traditional Chinese alcoholic drink made from fermented glutinous rice.

Mijiu

It is typically sweet and mellow and is often served as a dessert wine or used in cooking.

Mijiu is made from fermented grains of glutinous rice and typically has an alcohol content of around 15-20%. It is sweet and mellow, with a flavor often compared to sake.

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Mijiu is a popular option in many parts of China and is usually served as a dessert wine or used in cooking.


Choujiu

Choujiu is a type of Chinese liquor fermented and aged in earthenware jars, giving it a distinctive earthy flavor.

choujiu edited scaled

It is often served warm and is particularly popular in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.

Choujiu is brewed by fermenting and aging a mixture of grains, usually including rice, wheat, and barley. It is then stored in earthenware jars for several years, which gives it a distinctive earthy flavor.

Choujiu is often served warm and is particularly popular in the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.


Huangjiu

Huangjiu, or yellow wine, is a type of Chinese rice wine that is fermented and aged for several years.

Huangjiu

It has a rich, nutty aroma and flavor and is often used in cooking or served as a warm drink when it is cold outside.

Huangjiu is fermented and aged for several years. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Huangjiu is also taken as a digestive aid.


Lychee Wine

Lychee wine is a sweet, fruity wine made from lychee fruit.

lychee wine

It is often consumed as a dessert wine or used in cocktails.


Kumis

Kumis is a fermented dairy drink that is popular among the nomadic tribes of Inner Mongolia.

kumis

It is made from mare’s milk and has a slightly sour taste and a low alcohol content. Kumis is traditionally served warm and is sometimes used in traditional Mongolian medicine.


Qingke Jiu

Qingke jiu is a type of Chinese liquor made from highland barley.

It has a sweet, slightly malty taste and is often a digestive aid or used in traditional Chinese medicine.

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Osmanthus Wine

Osmanthus wine is a sweet, floral wine made from osmanthus flowers.

Osmanthus Wine

It is often served during the Mid-Autumn Festival and is associated with good fortune and prosperity.


Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re curious about Chinese liquors, here are some frequently asked questions and their brief answers:

What Is the Most Popular Alcohol in China?

The most popular alcohol in China is Baijiu, a strong distilled liquor often served at formal banquets and other special occasions. According to some estimates, Baijiu accounts for over 70% of all alcohol consumed in China.

What Is Traditional Chinese Liquor?

Traditional Chinese liquor refers to a wide range of distilled and fermented alcoholic drinks that have been consumed in China for thousands of years. These liquors are often made from grains such as rice, wheat, and barley, and can have a wide range of flavors and alcohol contents.

What Kind of Liquor is Moutai?

Moutai is a type of baijiu that many consider among the most prestigious and expensive Chinese liquors. It is made from sorghum and other grains, and producers age it for several years. Moutai has a distinctive aroma and flavor usually described as complex and intense.

Is Baijiu a Vodka?

While baijiu and vodka are distilled liquors, they are made from different ingredients and have several flavor profiles. Baijiu is typically made from grains such as sorghum or rice, while vodka is made from grains such as wheat or rye. Additionally, baijiu often has a much higher alcohol content than vodka, typically 40-60%.


Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Chinese liquors offer a fascinating glimpse into China’s rich culinary traditions and cultural practices. 

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From the potent and pungent baijiu to the sweet and mellow mijiu, each liquor has its unique taste, ingredients, and production methods. 

Whether you are exploring the bustling streets of Beijing or dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant, sampling Chinese liquors is a must-do experience for anyone interested in Chinese culture.

So, what do you think of these Chinese liquors? Have you tried any of them before? Do you have a favorite? 

Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts! And if you haven’t tried any of these liquors yet, we encourage you to try and experience the rich flavors and aromas.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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