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Bai jiu liquor 白酒 (bái jiǔ)

Bai jiu is a clear Chinese spirit distilled from sorghum. The taste is similar to vodka but it has a more flowery aftertaste. Some varieties have been lovingly described by expats living in China as tasting like paint thinner. Bai jiu has an extremely high alcohol content (between 80 and 150 proof) and is usually drunk from small ceramic cups during banquets in China by guests toasting one another. One of the most popular brands of bai jiu is Erguotou (二锅头), which comes in a distinctive green glass bottle with a red, white, and blue label. Find bai jiu at specialty liquor stores or at any liquor store in a Chinatown. Substitute brandy if necessary.

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