Baijiu (Chinese: 白酒; pinyin: báijiǔ), also known as shaojiu, is an alcoholic beverage from China. It is sometimes infelicitously translated as ‘ white wine ‘, but it is in fact a strong distilled spirit, generally about 40–60% alcohol by volume (ABV), and the world’s most-consumed liquor. It is usually served on the table of families and restaurants either for get-togethers, celebrations, or simply for fun and relaxation.
It is a clear drink usually distilled from sorghum, although other grains may be used: baijiu in southern China often employs glutinous rice, while northern Chinese varieties may use wheat, barley, millet, or even Job’s tears in place of sorghum. The jiuqu starter culture used in the production of baijiu mash is usually made of pulverized wheat grains.
Because of its clarity, baijiu can appear similar to several other East Asian liquors, but it generally has a significantly higher alcohol content than, for example, Japanese shōchū (25%) or Korean soju (20–45%). It is closer to vodka in strength and mouth-feel.