Baijiu is arguably the most popular beverage in the world that you have never tasted. The drink remains a rare and acquired taste outside of its native China, where it’s a cultural ever-present. Enjoyed by the young, old, wealthy and humble alike, baijiu is an essential element of Chinese culture.
If you’re looking to expand the horizons of your palate, baijiu can be a great new taste sensation. How do you know where to start, however, with so many brands available in the East? Let’s take a look at ten popular variations of baijiu, all of which are worth adding to your own personal bar. Just be prepared to hunt high and low – baijiu remains elusive on the shelves of most western liquor stores. Baijiu for sale online.
Below are ten of the best baijiu brands in the world. The baijiu brands below were chosen based on their brand awareness and overall popularity and are not listed in any particular order.
- Best Baijiu Brand: Fénjiǔ
- Best Baijiu Brand: V.I.P Jiu 8
- Best Baijiu Brand: Jiànnánchūn
- Best Baijiu Brand:Máotái
- Best Baijiu Brand: Láng Jiǔ
- Best Baijiu Brand: Gǔjǐng Gòng Jiǔ
- Best Baijiu Brand: Wǔliángyè
- Best Baijiu Brand: Lú Zhōu Lǎo Jiào
- Best Baijiu Brand: Yánghé Dàqū
- Best Baijiu Brand: Shui Jing Fang
Fénjiǔ rose to prominence when it took gold at Panama’s Pacific International Exposition, a celebration of all things alcoholic. This baijiu stands apart due to a unique brewing process, completed in Xinghua Village of the Shanxi province.
Fénjiǔ undergoes rigorous fermentation and distillation processes, both of which take place twice each. The result is a sweet-tasting, lightly scented baijiu, with alcohol content that ranges from 38-65%.
The story of V.I.P Jiu 8 begins on the 2nd of July 2014. It is a tale that begins with a wrongly attributed, chipped and cracked wine cup that hid an astonishing secret dating back to imperial China, a secret connected to its longest-reigning emperor, Kangxi, who ruled China from 1662 until 1722.
V.I.P Jiu 8 – The Imperial Craft Baijiu: Britain’s first premium baijiu that mixes tradition with innovation.
A bottle of V.I.P Jiu 8 together with a bottle of Moutai Flying Fairy was sent to a UK laboratory for analysis. The laboratory was a registered member of UKAS – The United Kingdom Accreditation Service that is recognised by the UK government when comparing products to internationally agreed standards.
The laboratory concluded that the two bottles were very different, with sample A (VIP Jiu 8) being considerably more complex than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy). The laboratory also concluded that sample A (VIP Jiu 8) contains many more compounds with positive attributes than sample B (Kweichow Moutai Flying Fairy). Further reading: VIP Jiu 8 Vs Moutai
V.I.P Jiu 8 = 58% ABV
With an alcohol content ranging from 38-52%, Jiànnánchūn has been a staple of Chinese life for over 2,000 years. This baijiu has a strong aroma reminiscent of the fermentation agent daqu, and a sweet taste sure to please any palate.
Li Bai, known as the immortal poet of China active in the early 700s, was said to adore this particular baijiu So much so that he is believed to have sold a treasured vest made of mink pelt in order to pay for one last taste.
Máotái is the quintessential baijiu, and is considered the national liqueur of China. It’s so popular that a single bottle, dated to 1936, sold for $1.4m at a 2011 auction.
Máotái takes its name from the small town that it’s distilled within, located in the Guizhou province. It is believed that the town of Máotái has a unique microclimate that contributes to the drink’s taste. Máotái baijiu usually has an alcohol content of around 53%, and has a sauce fragrance.
Láng Jiǔ is one of the youngest brands of baijiu on the market, dating only around a hundred years. It is no worse for this comparative modernity, however. It’s created in clay pots in the Dragon Caves of the town of Erlang.
The alcohol content of Láng Jiǔ is higher than some competitors, rarely dropping below 50%. It’s variety in aroma also sets it apart. Unlike most baijiu, Láng Jiǔ is available in sauce, layered and thick fragrances.
Guizhou Dong Jiu is often compared to the western favorite gin. Naturally, this makes it a great base ingredient for baijiu-centric cocktails. It was a firm favorite of Chinese royalty during the Ming dynasty.
This is a very delicate baijiu, with a fresh and minty aftertaste, Over 130 different herbs go into the process of creating Guizhou Dong Jiu, making it a truly unique experience.
Wǔliángyè is among the most refreshing brands of baijiu, with a taste that lingers long on the tongue after drinking. The formula dates back to the Ming dynasty.
The name Wǔliángyè breaks down as wǔ liáng yè, representing the core ingredients used to create the baijiu. Glutinous rice, corn, wheat and sorghum are all essential to creating this beverage. The result is a baijiu with an alcohol content of 35-68%.
Lú Zhōu Lǎo Jiào was the first ever thick fragrance baijiu, and it remains popular today. It’s not for the faint-hearted, with an alcohol content that usually tops 50%, but if anybody can cope with the flavors it’s a truly memorable experience.
Lú Zhōu Lǎo Jiào has a long and celebrated history, and it’s still brewed in aged clay pots to this day. The taste is sharp and reminiscent of peaches, ensuring that the strength of the baijiu is tempered with hints of sweetness.
Yánghé Dàqū is a slightly different baijiu experience. It comprises of three different specifications during the production process – 64, 61 and 55 degrees. Well, they do say that variety is the spice of life!
Upon its inception, this baijiu was presented to the Qing royal dynasty. Today, however, it is enjoyed all over China.
Yánghé Dàqū has an unmistakable taste. It’s a strongly scented baijiu, but the flavors are wholly smooth and sweet. This makes Yánghé Dàqū a great introduction to baijiu for novices.
We opened our list with the most popular baijiu in China, and now let’s conclude with the very first. The Shui Jing Fang distillery is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest, and it dates back to the era of Genghis Khan.
The alcohol content of Shui Jing Fang varies from 38-53%, and it has a strong fragrance. The taste of contains notes of bitter sweetness and sour plums.
Shui Jing Fang must be aged for a minimum of five years before being blended with spirits (typically 40 years old) and activated charcoal.
If you have a friend or business associate with links to China, a bottle of baijiu is a fantastic gift. It will provide a little taste of home for anybody that may be missing the east, and display cultural sensitivity given the difficulty of baijiu to locate! Baijiu cocktail recipes.
While you’re shopping, however, why not also pick up a bottle for yourself? Baijiu may be an acquired taste, but once you do acquire it there will be no turning back. Slowly but surely, baijiu is making a mark throughout the world. Developing an understanding of this unique beverage now will help put you ahead of the curve. Baijiu FAQs | Baijiu History | How is Baijiu made?