You’re a Chinese-food expert (or, at the very least, quite skilled at ordering some Americanized version of it for delivery). But what drink are you pairing with dinner? You may have run into some trouble at the liquor store trying to find a perfect match for the diverse flavor profiles of Chinese food, and there are several reasons for that — chances are, you haven’t even heard of the distilled Chinese spirit baijiu or its popular variety, Moutai.
Moutai has a history stretching back almost 400 years, and, much like French heavyweights Champagne and Cognac, can only be produced in a single, eponymous town by traditional methods. Distilled from fermented sorghum, wheat and water, the strong, clear spirit (106 proof) benefits from the unique surrounding natural environment and conditions, such as temperature, moisture, water quality, soil, rainfall and wind force and direction. It is said that its fragrance — and even its inebriating effects — are impossible to avoid when walking around town.
Known as the “drink of diplomacy” for its usage at feasts with foreign heads of state (including Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger), Moutai recently retailed for upwards of $200 per bottle, being that each one takes five years to produce. Take a look at the video below — from our friends at Great Big Story — to learn more about the fascinating Chinese spirit.