Baijiu: Things to Know about the ‘Chinese Firewater’
Published by Abigail T

Baijiu: Things to Know about the ‘Chinese Firewater’

There is so much to know about drinks, especially alcoholic ones!  Have you ever heard of baijiu? Let us introduce it to you.

What exactly is baijiu?

The name of the spirit means “white alcohol” or “white liquor”. Typically, the spirit is made from sorghum grains and water, some variants use rice or other grains. Baijiu is China’s unofficial national drink. This is hardly surprising as it accounts for about 99.5% of the country’s spirit consumption. Because of the population alone, this “white liquor” has become the most consumed alcoholic drink in the world, outselling rum, tequila, gin, and whiskey combined! The alcohol content ranges between 38% and 68% ABV. Yes, not the kind of alcohol you should drink by the bottle!

Types of Baijiu

The spirit is divided into 4 types based on aroma: Light, rice, sauce, and strong.


The light aroma variants are made from sorghum. Keep in mind that the term “light” here refers to their aroma, not their alcohol content. Most light aroma variants have an ABV of over 50%.


The rice aroma variants are made from, well, rice. This is why they have a rather similar flavor to traditional Chinese wine. Some say they taste similar to Japanese sake. These variants are usually cheaper and considered as a gentler introduction to baijiu.


These are made with more jiaque. As a result, they have a strong aroma of soy sauce, hence the name. Some of the best brands in the world are sauce variants and are usually served at Chinese state banquets.


Strong aroma variants are made from a range of different ingredients. Their use gives a stronger aroma and more complex taste.

What does baijiu taste like?

There is no single answer for this, just a variety of aromas and flavors. Many factors determine what baijiu tastes like… Ingredients, fermentation, distillation, and length of aging. Some variants are bold and strong with a soy sauce aroma. Others are smoother and have a milder flavor. In short, a complex drink with various tastes. It’s complexity is maybe what makes the spirit appealing to so many people.

Why Should You Buy It?

There are countless reasons why you should buy this Chinese white liquor. Here are a few:

  • Baijiu promises a rather unique taste experience.
  • Even if you don’t drink alcohol, Baijiu could be a sound investment, as it’s considered a highly sought-after collector’s item.
  • The spirit makes a great companion to various foods.
  • It is delicious!

Some Fun Facts

  • In the past, drinking baijiu was restricted for special occasions only. Nowadays, it’s a lot more common.
  • It can be used to make cocktails.
  • It’s an alcoholic drink with a long history and culture behind it.
  • If you are just starting… Start gently.

Interested in trying baijiu for the first time or expanding your collection? Visit our liquor store to explore different baijiu varieties and discover this unique Chinese spirit’s diverse flavors. Cheers to an exciting taste experience with baijiu!

Red & White

Red & White is Indonesia’s leading full-service wine and spirits retailer since 2014. I'm very happy to provide you information about the liquor world and let's have a drink together at the nearest Red & White store.

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