Erguotou 二锅头 is a bad baijiu. Not bad in the Samual L. Jackson sense of the word, but bad like the frozen center of an undercooked tater tot. Bad like child poverty. Fall of Berlin (for the Nazis) bad, but without the cyanide.
When staring into the face of evil, all men must make a choice: to give up or stand firm. I’m no quitter, but I’m not a maniac either. I’ve needed to think outside the box with as singularly wretched a baijiu as Erguotou. The first time around I tried diluting the nasty by using it in a cocktail. It worked fine, but it felt wrong. The epic man-against-baijiu, machismo-fueled narrative loses some steam when it turns into a quiet night drinking pink cocktails with the guys.
This time around I didn’t change the drink: I dropped that mountain right to Mohammed’s lap and changed my own damned taste buds. That’s right: miracle fruit, flavor tripping, the final frontier. Miracle fruit disrupts the functioning of your taste buds and makes everything sour taste sweet. What would it do to baijiu? Nobody knew. So we dropped a pill, put on some Jefferson Airplane and waited.
And waited . . .
Then it was game on. Lemons tasted like lemonade. Red wine tasted like dessert wine. Guinness tasted like chocolate. Sour Skittles became sweet, as did spicy barbeque sauce. The Erguotou? It still tasted awful.
The baijiu’s front end became more tart, but then that same old stomach-turning grainy bite kicked in at the end. Miracle berries can only work so much wonder with so little.
200 shots to go.