Never heard of Baijiu? Surprisingly, it is the world’s most imbibed spirit at over one billion cases consumed every year! Hailing from China, it literally means “white wine”, but at 80 proof, it has a bigger kick. Distilled from Red Sorghum (which is where the “red” designation comes from), it is fermented using Daku jiuqu, a wheat based mixture of yeast, mold and bacteria. As a bonus, Byejoe is gluten-free and full of antioxidants.
I came across this information when researching the traditions of drinking Baijiu. “Always make a small toast or gesture to the other comrades at the table and drink with them, not alone (wait till you get home to drink alone). When your comrades’ glasses are empty, its polite to fill them, starting with whoever has the most money and on down the line, always pouring for yourself last. When someone else pours for you, hold your glass up with two hands, one on the bottom of the glass. Originally this was meant to help the imbiber keep from dropping his glass in his drunkenness. If you think you’re too drunk to hold up your glass even with both hands, just tap your fingers on the table. To signal that you’ve had enough just vomit all over yourself and you won’t have to drink anymore, otherwise you’ll have to wait until you get to the taxi before vomiting out the window.
Contrary to popular belief, if you peng (clink) glasses with someone, you don’t have to drink everything in your glass. Usually you can drink suiyi (as much as you want), unless someone specifies banbei (half glass) or ganbei (dry glass). Rather than clinking glasses with everyone at the table, you can simply tap your glass on the table before you drink.”
GSN received a bottle of the regular style and a version called Dragonfire that has an infusion of dragonfruit and hot chiles. We also were given a few recipes which I’ve included below.
Byejoe Red (80 proof)
Nose: Malty, but with a lot of cherry fruit character.
Taste: Initial hints of tropical fruit that quickly gives way to a more assertive alcohol base. Slightly sweet, but quite dry and grain-like. A round and full mouth feel with a lot of body.
Finish: Dry, with lingering notes of toasted grain, and a hint of salinity.
Overall: Unusual and in style with Asian spirits like Shochu (Soju). With the higher proof the flavors are intensified and make for a headlining base spirit in nouveau cocktails.
GSN Rating: B+
Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into tall glass, top with ice. Garnish with lemon and cucumber.
Byejoe Dragonfire (70 proof)
Nose: An almost pineapple tropical fruit nose, with just the slightest hint of spice. Quite different from Byejoe Red.
Taste: Sweet and spicy with a definite tropical character. The chile burn is mild, but adds an interesting depth of character.
Finish: The heat lingers for several minutes, but is tempered by the consistent fruitiness. Almost a Juicyfruit gum and ginger melange.
Overall: The balance of both flavors makes for a great shot. I’d almost recommend this as a pre-mixed cocktail. Just stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Add a strawberry slice as a garnish, and you’re good to go.
GSN Rating: A-
Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with a lychee and cucumber.
For more information go to: Byejoe