Getting started: rice aroma

Mixiang baijiu and rice wines in rural Guangxi

Rice aroma is popular and widely produced throughout southeastern China, but hard to get your hands on elsewhere. This is the most unique category of baijiu in terms of ingredients and production methods. Give it a shot if you see it.

Rice aroma (mi xiang 米香)

Mid-range: Lao Guilin 老桂林 by Guilin Sanhua 桂林三花

Price: RMB150/US$24

Lao Guilin is one of the newer rice aromas on the market, made with glutinous rice like the traditional rice wine (mijiu) that’s been produced in the region for centuries. It’s smooth, mellow and syrupy, getting its sweetness from the glutinous rice. I just wish I could find it outside of Guilin. (If anyone in Chengdu has a lead, let me know.)

Inexpensive: Guilin Sanhua Jiu 桂林三花酒

Price: RMB30/US$5

Made with normal rice. You can get this at pretty much any boozery in Guangxi Province. I find this baijiu to be exceptionally smooth, particularly for a 52% alcohol by volume product.

Wildcard: Rice aroma baijiu infused with fruits, herbs and animals

Snakes, deer dongs, ginseng, lychee, etc. It all tastes a lot better than it sounds and it supposedly gives you special powers. Win-win.

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