Flashback | Ten memorable baijiu moments

By Jim Boyce | I’m giving a short presentation at a baijiu conference in Fuzhou this week and that meant sifting through lots of photos to find a few that would fit. And that inspired me to post ten that reminded me of memorable moments in my baijiu drinking experiences. I do realize that retaining memories and baijiu sessions are not typically associated with each other but this is evidence the two can co-exist!


It’s that ever-so-rare occasion when one follows a 1968 Beerenauslese from Austria with a Red Star erguotou from China, but such was the case at a dinner with wine academics, who also threw some organic Israeli vino into the mix.


There’s that red star and green bottle again, this time for some experiments at bar BBC in Beijing. We actually had a few combos that tasted good!


Now *that’s* a lot of baijiu. From a tasting organized by Derek Sandhaus. I arrived in Shanghai early in the morning, started tasting at 10 and then had to head to airport at 4 PM. I slept well that night.


Our main party for World Baijiu Day 2015, at Pop-Up Beijing, with spirits from China, New Zealand and the U.S. and tasty “drunken shrimp” baijiu pizzas from Gung Ho. Good times!


I really enjoyed the decor and drink presentation at baijiu bar En Vain in Beijing while it lasted. And the concoctions tasted good, too!


I scream, you scream, we all scream for (baijiu) ice scream? French chef Gerard Taurin tries his hand at making this frozen treat with Yimuquan baijiu.


Speaking of Yimuquan, I had a blast visiting their “jiu hai” (wine sea) cellar. These containers are made of woven branches and then lined with layer after layer of blood, paper and egg white. They date to the 1940s when metal was scarce and some of them remain in use today.


If baijiu ice cream and baijiu pizza seemed a stretch during our first WBD campaign, then deep-fried baijiu was a whole other level. Here Dustin Merrett whips up a batch, complete with whipped cream, blueberries and mint.


These gummy bears made by Alex Jennings were a lot of fun. Useful as cocktail garnishes or just straight up.


Finally, not the best photo but it did come from a very good night at Q Bar, site of our main party for World Baijiu Day 2016. Once again we tried spirits from China, New Zealand and the U.S., this time with baozza, a tasty combo of two treats–baozza and pizza. Ganbei!


Deng G Bistro and Baijiu Bar to open in Hong Kong


By Jim Boyce | Elite Concepts, the team behind projects such as the 1949: The Hidden City complexes in Beijing, Eyebar in Hong Kong and Ye in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei, is about to open a new project with a baijiu angle.

Deng G Bistro and Baijiu Bar will open in Wanchai in Hong Kong and feature the food of chef Deng Huadong, states the company’s website:

DENG G will serve Chef Deng’s signature style of cuisine and cooking style in an exquisite menu of Sichuan dishes using the freshest ingredients. The venue comprises a bar on the second floor and a restaurant on the third floor, combining to accommodate 100 guests.

According to the A Foodie World, the venue will open this month, and it sounds like it’ll have of the city’s best baijiu cocktails:

Helmed by mixologist Héktor Monroy, winner of the International Bartenders Association’s Best Latin American Mixologist of Europe and Best Shaker in Spain in 2010, the drinks list is heavy on baijiu and baijiu cocktails.

You can read more on A Foodie World here.


Event | Dinner and baijiu at Culture Yard in Beijing

By Jim Boyce | Although World Baijiu Day 2016 is in the rear view mirror, there are still more than 10 billion bottles of this spirit produced annually and in need of drinking. Help that cause by attending a Beijing dinner and baijiu tasting at Culture Yard this Saturday as part of Beijing Orientation Month.

David Putney of baijiu bar Capital Spirits will be there to tell you all kinds of fascinating things about this spirit that you will likely instantly forget because you are blitzed. Don’t worry, it’ll be in your subconscious forever! Book your spot here.

culture yard capital spirits  beijing china

Kiwi spirit | On New Zealand’s Taizi baijiu


Jim Boyce | Pleasantly surprised is the typical reaction when someone first tries Taizi. Not only because it hails from New Zealand, a nation few would associate with baijiu, but also due to the taste.

Taizi is made with Australia sorghum and New Zealand wheat and classified as a “light aroma” baijiu, a category that includes erguotou and fenjiu from northern China and gives a nod to kaoliang from Taiwan, the birthplace of the company’s owners. The aroma is light, fresh and complex with floral, stone fruit and herbal characteristics as well as a touch of graininess. It’s deceptively mild compared to the 110-proof powered kick below. While this spirit is strong, it is also clean and balanced, with a slight viscosity and a spicy licorice-y finish that warms more than burns and lasts for minutes. In consumer tastings I have helped organize, typically with six to eight baijius, Taizi usually ranks in the top two and is often number one. It’s a spirit people for which people ask seconds.

There’s nothing magical about Taizi, says Ben Lu, who runs the company with brother Sam Lu. The basic science and methodology behind the spirit is the same as used in China. The key differences, besides the antipodean raw materials, is equipment. The Lus use a copper distillery made by John Dore in the 1850s and do multiple distillations “so the alcohol is more refined.”

The brothers, who moved to New Zealand from Taiwan in 1994, started making baijiu for a simple reason. They love drinking it.

“I drink it everyday,” says Ben. “Quality control.”

They founded New Zealand Chinese Liquor in 2009 in Christchurch, although their plans were slowed by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The first first bottles of Taizi, made by John Fitzpatrick, rolled out in 2013.

Production is 21,000 bottles per year and, says Ben, there are no plans to expand.

“We hope to keep it boutique,” he says.

For World Baijiu Day, Taizi teamed up with Pot Sticker Dumpling Bar in Christchurch and served its spirit both straight and in cocktails alongside the food (see below). Ben says he prefers his Taizi on ice but notes his mother cuts it with mineral water to about 20 percent alcohol. He also had high praise for the cocktails at PSDB.

Taizi is priced in New Zealand at 150 dollars. For now, it’s is available in local department and alcohol stores as well as duty free in Auckland airport. Ben says he is also approaching a Chinese airline to make it part of the in-flight duty free offerings and and aims to make it available on Tmall.

world baijiu day 2016 August 9 Taizi Pot Sticker Dumpling Bar 1

WBD Boston | Get four ‘Kung Fu Cocktails’ at Red Lantern

world baijiu day 2016 Boston Red Lantern Poster-001

By Jim Boyce | Beantown is Baitown today—yes, that’s a terrible joke—as Red Lantern in Boston celebrates World Baijiu Day. This place has four cocktails ready to punch you in the taste buds, all starring Hong Kong Baijiu, ranging from Mad Monkey Kung Fu, garnished with a swinging plastic primate, to Enter the Dragon, with its triple kick of baijiu, bourbon and rum.

Guests can try Five Fingers of Death, with grapefruit beer, lime juice, velvet falernum and rum. Or the 36th Chamber of Shaolin, with a lineup of Jägermeister, sweet vermouth, citrus bitters and an orange twist.

Cocktails are $12 each, you can get them at 39 Stanhope Street, and you can check out the Red Lantern website here.

world baijiu day 2016 Boston Red Lantern Poster-001

WBD Beijing | Baijiu, baozza and Big Trouble bash at Q Bar

world baijiu day q bar big (4)

world baijiu day q bar big (4)
By Jim Boyce | Get ready for baijiu, baozza and Big Trouble in Beijing on August 9. Here’s the lineup of Q Bar festivities for World Baijiu Day.


Starting from 6:30 PM, try ~10 ml tasters of Taizi from New Zealand, byejoe (regular and infused) and Confucius Wisdom from the United States, and Jiangxianghe, Yimuquan and a 1995-2005 blend from China.

q bar world baijiu day (4)


Q Bar owner George Zhou and bartender Jacky Pi have created a couple of cocktails for the occasion. The BaiGeorge includes Grand Marnier, Blue Caracao, fresh ginger and lime, while the JackyJiu has grapefuit syrup, passion fruit juice and Galiano.

world baijiu day q bar big


Beijing’s newest fusion comfort food is known as Baozza and features a combination of baozi and pizza. The guys from the company of the same name will be on hand with their steamer and tasty treats on World Baijiu Day.

baozi baozza 2 beijing china screenshot-001


At 8 PM, we’ll kick back with a few beverages and watch the classic action comedy Big Trouble in Little China, teaming teams Jack Burton and Wang Chi for adventures beneath San Francisco’s Chinatown. It’s electrifying.

world baijiu day q bar big (3)


Get the baijiu tasting, two baozza and one cocktail for rmb50. Extra baozza are rmb10 each while extra cocktails are rmb30 each.

See the full poster below. Let us know if you’re coming! Email spirit (at) worldbaijiuday.com or contact ‘beijingboyce’ on weixin.

Q Bar is atop Chang’An Business Hotel, (map below). It’s at the corner of Sanlitun South Road and Workers Stadium South Road, 50 meters south of Beer Mania.

And remember people, it’s all in the reflexes.

q bar world baijiu day

world baijiu day 2016 Q Bar 2

q bar beijing map

WBD Tianjin | Meats and sweets at the Hyatt Regency

hyatt regency tianjin east world baijiu day pork knuckle dessert specials

hyatt regency tianjin east world baijiu day pork knuckle dessert specials
By Jim Boyce
| I posted here about WE Brewery getting into the spirit with baijiu-fruit infused beers plus special twists on its burgers and fish and chips. Here’s more fun for those who want to celebrate World Baijiu Day in Tianjin.

The Hyatt Regency Tianjin East will use baijiu for two of its dishes on August 9.

One is the meaty main course Flamed Clay Pot Chicken and Pork Knuckle (火焰神仙鸡配猪肘). The other is a sweet treat that uses two well-known baijius, Xi Feng and Wuliangye, and includes pistachios, milk chocolate, ice cream and fruit (西凤酒开心果牛奶巧克力蛋糕配鲜果五粮液冰淇淋).

If you also feel like sampling a few baijius, the hotel’s “Wok in the Garden” restaurant has more than a half-dozen options.

You can find the Hyatt Regency at 126 Weiguo Road in Hedong District. The website is here.

Thanks to the staff for printing and taking photos with our World Baijiu Day poster and logo!

hyatt regency tianjin east world baijiu day pork knuckle dessert specials (2)hyatt regency tianjin east world baijiu day pork knuckle dessert specials (3)

WBD Washington | Nihao, network and baijiu at the Definitive China DC Happy Hour

world baijiu day 2016 definitive china dc happy hour with guotai
By Jim Boyce
| Ni hao, network and enjoy China’s national spirit this Monday in Washington at the annual Definitive China DC Happy Hour. A wide range of China organizations will join together for fellowship and spirits from sponsor Guotai. From the invitation:

The Definitive China D.C. Happy Hour 2016 brings together China professionals and enthusiasts from over 20 D.C.-area China organizations, ranging from Chinese nationals, to students, to young professionals, to employers.

Get your ticket here on Eventbrite.

The VIP ticket is only $5 and gets you into a draw for signed China books as well as that taste of Guotai. The books include River Town by Peter Hessler, Factory Girls by Leslie Chang, Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos, China Goes West by Joel Backaler, and A Matter of Honour by Yoon Jung Park

The organizers remind attendees to bring government-issued photo ID. You can also check out the Facebook page for the event here.

world baijiu day 2016 washington definitive china dc happy hour guotai

WBD Beijing | Jing-A Taproom to launch Qu Brew II

world baijiu day 2016 jing-a taproom qu brew
By Jim Boyce
| Jing-A Taproom is back with another Qu Brew and will officially launch it this Saturday in Beijing. Last year, Jing-A made a beer using qu, the fermentation agent for baijiu. This year, the brewers mixed things up with both qu and brewing yeast.

“This year we’ve included red sorghum, a classic baijiu grain, and then kettle-soured the beer with Inner Mongolian, qu, finishing it with estery Belgian brewery’s yeast,” says Jing-A. “The end result is a lightly sour, session-able and intriguing baiju beer.”

You can find Jing-A in the 1949: The Hidden City complex off Sanlitun South. See the map below. For more on Jing-A, see the map here.

jing-a qu brew 2016 world baijiu day beijing china

world baijiu day 2016 jing-a taproom map

WBD Shanghai | Drink baijiu at ‘speak loudly’ Logan’s Punch

 world baijiu day 2016 logan punch shanghai china 2
By Jim Boyce | Billed as Shanghai’s first punch bar, a “speak loudly” rather than speakeasy, and a place to “get good and drunk the old fashioned way,” Logan’s is participating in World Baijiu Day. I asked owner Logan Brouse about his bar philosophy, baijiu experience, and plans for August 9.
You describe Logan’s Punch as a “speak loudly”, which pretty much describes the general conditions in which I’ve consumed baijiu.

The idea behind a speak loudly versus a speakeasy was that I was tired of going into bars that kept the music volumes really low and people only spoke in whispers. I wanted something loud and raucous but still a fun bar environment. We wanted to capture that vibe of a dive bar but a lot more upscale.

Your menu features a wealth of booze and I assume you’ve also met baijiu on an occasion or two. What have your experiences been like?
I fell in love with baijiu the first time I tried it. I loved the little glasses, the mad shouts of ‘gan bei’, the din of the room as everyone gets swept into a baiju-induced buzz that turns strangers into friends and my shitty Chinese language skills into pro levels.

Your punches are about 15 percent alcohol while baijiu tends to be high-proof and highly pungent. How does it fit into the world of punch?
Our punches are usually 375 ml of spirits or 750 ml, depending on the size. So they already pack a hefty wallop. The idea of punches is to relax with friends and get hammered over the course of an hour or so. With the addition of such an intricate flavor profile, that baijiu will be bring an extra bit of party.

Finally, what are you guys planning for World Baijiu Day?

We plan on doing a cocktail with byejoe called Xiao Long Go. It’s baijiu, passion fruit, lemon and sugar.
Find Logan’s Punch Logan’s at Unit 202, 2F, 99 Taixing Road, near Wujiang Road. Check out the map below and the Logan’s Punch website here.
world baijiu day 2016 logan punch shanghai china map
world baijiu day 2016 logan punch shanghai china