Have you ever wondered what Chinese people drink??? Most of you know that tea is their traditional and oldest beverage. Modern Chinese people drink various cold beverages such as ice teas, Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, various juice that vary from orange, apple to mango and lichi. But when it comes about alcoholic beverages there are many things that Chinese like to drink.

traditional huangjiu bottle
traditional huangjiu

Lets start from the history. In history main beverages were  Baijiu and Huangjiu. They were made by Chinese people for several thousand years. Lets start from Huangjiu. In category of Huangjiu fall something like wines in Western world. Most famous are rice wines in China. They were drunk the most since past times. Usually rice wines are strong between 10% and 20%. So according to that they are strong like wines. Huangjiu is something like Japanese sake by its taste and by alcoholic percentage. They really taste like rice as I tried both sake and Chinese rice wine. In past they were usually held in pots made from clay or porcelain.  Traditionally it is drunk from porcelain nicely decorated cups. It can be drunk even warmed during winter.  . . Also common is plum wine that is strong around 20% and it is my favorite Chinese wine.

huangjiu bottles
bottled Huangjiu

Baijiu is another category of Chinese drinks and here fall all strong or hard drinks which strength ranges between 40% and 60%. Here are also beverages distilled from rice with aroma of rice or soy. These things were also popular in past very much. Special subcategory of Baijiu is Ergotou a drink that needs more than 6 months to produce as it is twice distilled.  Such drinks can be mostly considered as kind of brandies or vodkas according to taste and strength. They were traditionally also kept in jars or special containers from clay or porcelain.

traditional container of baijiu
traditional baijiu

Both types of alcoholic drinks were very popular through past times. About good alcoholic beverages softer and stronger ones songs and poems were sung and recited, stories written and rumors spoken. These drinks were drunk on various family occasions but also more often. Both rural families but also wealthier city families used to praise themselves with good wine or baijiu and offer the guests.

another baijiu brand
bottled baijiu

Today these traditional beverages can be found in glass bottles too. It can be drunk cold but also hot.  In category of Huangjiu there are modern bottled beverages made from rice but also from plum. Also there can be found modern wines such as those made of grapes and among most famous brands is Great Wall Wine.  I tried plum wines, rice wines and Great Wall wine and definitely my favorite is plum wine both cold and hot. Also I tried stronger brandies such as Beijing Ergotou but cheaper one.  Small bottle 0,25l can be bought for 5RMB. This ergotou has very strong taste and reminds on strong sake as taste of rice is very intensive.  Better ergotous are usually more expensive but not too much starting from 50-100RMB. Most expensive Chinese drink is Maotai it is special baijiu which is most popular Chinese drink both in China and abroad. It originates from few centuries old brewery in Guizhou province. Today it is produced by state owned company.  Its so expensive that one glass can cost 20$ and bottle of 1l around 300$. Maotai is drunk by Chinese officials on official banquets as starter.

Ancient Chinese wine drinking

In past Chinese people liked to drink quite a lot domestic huangjiu and baijiu. There are even special strong baijius which contain whole snakes as it is believed to be good for potention. Today except that mostly are drunk various foreign beverages such as various brands of vodkas, whiskeys, wines and beers. All possible foreign beverages can be found in China. Beers are very popular among Chinese people. Also China has own domestic beers among which most famous is Qingdao beer.  This one is also internationally famous and is oldest Chinese beer. Other good Chinese beers are Yanjing beer( main Beijing beer), also very good is Harbin beer.

Qingdao beers

bottle of Yanjing beer
Nothing goes better with Chinese food than Chinese beer!

Among other famous Chinese beers are: Snow Beer, Kingway beer, Kingstar beer, Shancheng beer, Pearl river beer, Sedrin , Shangri La beer and Tibetan beer.  Currently my favorite are Yanjing and Qingdao beer. During hanging out at pubs or clubs Chinese people mostly drink beer. Also during lunches or dinners beer suits best.Also baijius are popular during clubbing.  But as apperittives or on special occassions baijiu is more popular especially drinking shots.

ENjoy China 😉

Beer drinking competition Nanjing


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