Monday, July 31, 2023

World Baijiu Day--August 9: Celebrate at Sumiao Hunan Kitchen

Next Wednesday, August 9, is World Baijiu Day, a day to celebrate and honor this fascinating and delicious Chinese spirit, which you might not realize is also the most popular spirit in the world. This holiday was created back in 2015 by Jim Boyce, who runs the nightlife blog Beijing Boyce and wine blog Grape Wall of China. The intent of the holiday is to raise exposure of Baijiu, to spread awareness beyond the borders of China.  

Jim Boyce says, "It's part of a theme of going "beyond ganbei", the typical practice of draining shots of room-temperature baijiu, one that turns off many people." He also stated, "Like many others, I've had those reckless ganbei sessions that left me wondering if I could look at a bottle again," says Boyce. "But this spirit has a long history, an impressive range of styles and, as we saw last year, can work with cocktails and infusions and foods." 

Numerous venues, all across the world, will participate in this holiday and you can check out the list of participants. You'll find a diverse variety of ways that these venues are showcasing Baijiu, from cocktails, liqueurs and infusions to chocolate, pizza and beer. In the U.S., you'll find events in Baltimore, Cambridge, Los Angeles, and New York, although more venues may be added during the next week.

Sumiao Hunan Kitchen, in Cambridge, will be celebrating World Baijiu Day once again. Founded in 2017, and from the start, the restaurant has offered Baijiu and Baijiu cocktails on their drinks menu. For the last several years, they have also supported World Baijiu Day. This year, they have created a special new cocktail for the occasion, the Summer Jade. It is made with Baijiu, Amaro Montenegro, Lime, Falernum, and Pink Guava Puree.  

In addition, they offer three other Baijiu cocktails on their drinks menu, including:
Fung Wah – Sesame Baijiu, Chrysanthemum, Honey, Ginger, Lemon, Peated Scotch
Baijiu Blast – Baijiu Gin, Green Tea, Midori, Pineapple, Lime
Perpetual Motion – Baijiu, Blood Orange, Elderflower, Mint 

Next week is also the start of Dine Out Boston, and Sumiao participates so while you enjoy their Baijiu cocktails, you could pair them with a special 4-Course Lunch ($33) or 4-Course Dinner ($46). There's a good chance that I'll visit Sumiao next Wednesday to celebrate World Baijiu Day!

Why does Baijiu need a special day of recognition? It's because so many people have many misconceptions about this intriguing spirit. For example, many Americans claim they hate Baijiu, stating it tastes like stinky cheese or sweaty socks. This is usually based on their single experience of Kweichow Moutai, a sauce aroma Baijiu. Moutai may be hugely popular, but it can be off-putting to someone who has never experienced Baijiu before. 

However, Baijiu is a diverse beverage, with many different flavor profiles. There are plenty of lighter, fruitier versions which would appeal to anyone who drinks other spirits like rum, vodka or gin. It can be drank on its own, or used in many different cocktails. People need to realize its diversity, and that there is likely a style that will appeal to them.

For more information about Baijiu, you can check out the 16 articles I've previously written about Baijiu, delving into its fascinating history, production methods, and providing reviews of numerous Baijiu. I've tried to promote this beverage as it can be absolutely delicious and it's also versatile, making an excellent cocktail ingredient. World Baijiu Day is a perfect time to learn more about this Chinese spirit and sample some examples, to get past your hatred of this liquor.

You can hold your own World Baijiu event with friends and family. Just seek out some Baijiu at your local spirits shop and have your own tasting party. Baijiu is becoming more readily available at liquor shops in the U.S., though previously you might not have even realized it existed. Although Baijiu is hugely popular in Asia, it needs much greater exposure in the rest of the world. It is a unique and delicious spirit and well worth seeking out.

Expand your palate and try something different and more unique. Taste some Baijiu and celebrate World Baijiu Day!

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