Good news, America and UK-based readers: The paperback version of Baijiu: The Essential Guide to Chinese Spirits is coming soon to bookstores near you.
Last year the Penguin Random House China did the world a great service by publishing my guide to Chinese hooch, the first of its kind in the English language. Within its pages is all the information one would require to understand to differentiate types of baijiu—tastes, categories, production methods, regional characteristics, etc—and an in-depth overview of major brands and distilleries. Make no mistake, this is the blueprint for putting together a bitchin’ Chinese liquor cabinet and annoying your friends with pointless baijiu trivia. What’s more it’s sleek, glossy and small enough to slip into your back pocket. There was only one hitch, if you were based outside of China you could only purchase the electronic version, which is also wonderful (everyone should buy at least ten copies of both versions) but perhaps less appealing to a tree-killing luddite like me.
Now Amazon informs me that we have a release date: November 1, 2015. And at $16.95 (£11.43 in the UK) it’s a steal. Pre-order your own Baijiu: The Essential Guide to Chinese Spirits today, and I will personally sign each copy.*
Did I mention that Christmas and Hanukkah are just around the corner?
*Signing contingent on us both being in the same room and at least one of us possessing a pen.
Wow, very excited to find this site and the news that your book will arrive stateside. After time in China I came back to the U.S. nostalgic for baijiu (of all things) and did not yet know your secret to tracking down that “cooking wine” that I read about in an earlier post (thanks!). Then I found our local Vinn Distillery—delicious! And I don’t have to worry about formaldehyde. Thanks for your hard-won research and dedication to this distinctive drink. Ganbei!
Thanks, Margaret! Glad you were able to find some good baijiu stateside (I’m a big fan of Vinn). Interesting note on formaldehyde. You’re far more likely to find it in beer than in baijiu in China, but the US allows small amounts of it in their beer as well. Best as I was able to discover it’s a natural byproduct of the fermentation process, but definitely not something you want to drink too much of.
That is the reason why Chinese normally to warm/heat the baijiu before drinking in the past.
Formaldehyde will vaporized/removed more easily than alcohol from baijiu on higher temperature
Seriously, why hasn’t anyone attempted to pull the machismo card with Baijiu? An advertising campaign featuring successful people having worked hard and sweated hard celebrating with baijiu would have been killer. Say, you can have some Northern Chinese type celebrate with Baijiu with his employees, and watch them collapse while he’s reminiscing about the fine notes of Baijiu. Then, a voiceover: “That’s why I’m the boss”.