Chinese Liquor: 7 Popular Types from Mijiu to Baijiu

From Mijiu to Baijiu: 7 Popular Types of Chinese Liquor

Interested to learn about different types of Chinese liquor? In this article, we look at 7 most popular types of Chinese alcoholic beverages: from mijiu and huangjiu, to baijiu and kumis.

1. Mijiu, Rice Wine

米酒 Mijiu, Rice Wine | Popular Chinese Liquor
米酒

mǐjiǔ
rice wine

6%

MILDLY SWEET

RICE FLAVOR

Mǐjiǔ is an alcoholic beverage made by the fermentation of rice starch that has been converted to sugars. Technically, it’s not ‘wine’ – because it’s not made from sweet grapes and other fruit, so you can call it ‘rice liquor’ if you like.

2. Huangjiu, Mulled Rice Wine

黄酒

huángjiǔ
huangjiu; mulled rice wine
(lit. “yellow wine”)

8-20%

SOFT & MILDLY SOUR

RICE FLAVOR

Huángjiǔ is a type of liquor brewed by mixing boiled grains such as rice, glutinous rice or millet. Since it’s not distilled, its alcohol content is not as high as in báijiǔ.

3. Baijiu

白酒

báijiǔ
baijiu
(lit. “white wine”)

40-60%

STRONG & SPICY

NUTTY FLAVOR

Báijiǔ is a fermented and distilled liquor made from whole grain, most often sorghum.

Erguotou

二锅头 Erguotou | Popular Chinese Liquor
二锅头

èrguōtóu
erguotou, sorghum liquor

56%

STRONG & SPICY

SPICY FLAVOR

Èrguōtóu is a traditional alcoholic beverage from Beijing. It’s a type of light-aroma báijiǔ made from sorghum. The name “èrguōtóu” means “second distillation”, meant to describe its level of purity. It takes six months to produce!

4. Kumis

马奶酒 Manaijiu, Kumis | Popular Chinese Liquor
马奶酒

mǎnǎijiǔ
kumis
(lit. “horse milk wine”)

16%

MILDLY SOUR

MILKY FLAVOR

Mǎnǎijiǔ, or kumis, is a mild alchoholic drink made from fermented mare’s milk.

5. Osmanthus wine

桂花酒 Osmanthus-Scented Wine | Popular Chinese Liquor
桂花酒
guìhuājiǔ
osmanthus-scented wine

15%

MILDLY SWEET

FLOWERY FLAVOR

Guìhuājiǔ, or osmanthus-scented wine, is an alcoholic drink, sometimes sweetened, produced from weak baijiu and flavored with sweet osmanthus flowers.

Of course, this list can go on and on! There are more regional types of 酒, such as osmanthus-scented wine and Tibetan highland barley wine, as well as variations within each category.

‘Milder’ and More Universal Drinks

6. Beer

啤酒 Beer | That's Mandarin Blog
啤酒
píjiǔ
beer

7. Wine

Wine 葡萄酒 | That's Mandarin Blog
葡萄酒
pútaojiǔ
wine

Further Reading

Interested to know more about Chinese Wine culture, how to drink the drinks mentioned in this post ‘the local way’, and learn about the history of alcohol in China? Then don’t miss our previous post about it:

Chinese Drinking Culture 101 | That's Mandarin Blog

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