Alcoholic drinks in China are very different from European ones. For those who like to drink, we do not recommend hoping for local alcohol, but to visit duty-free at the airport or take something with you. For those who love all the colorful and national, Chinese alcoholic beverages will be very interesting. Let's talk about them in detail.
Where and what kind of alcohol can I buy in China
Alcoholic beverages are sold at every grocery store and at any time. While the Chinese authorities did not introduce any prohibitions (the article was written in January 2015). In small shops the assortment is limited to beer, and for strong drinks it is necessary to send to a supermarket. However, this principle is not mandatory, rather it is our observation. It is possible to meet Chinese rice vodka in a small grocery store.
If you want to buy whiskey, cognac or European-made wine, you will definitely have to go to the supermarket, we have never met these drinks in small shops. Prices for such alcohol in China are quite high, a bottle of whiskey will cost 1.5 times more expensive than in Russia.
The Chinese believe that European and American beverages are higher in quality than their national spirits, hence higher prices. You will understand this when you fly to China , because on the voyage there will be some Chinese with a contented view of carrying 5-liter bottles of whiskey from duty-free.
Not very high quality. Its peculiarity is the extremely low content of alcohol. The strongest variety among the popular ones is the local Budweiser. His fortress is only 2.5%, and all the other "foam drinks" in China are even weaker.
It is not possible to bring yourself to the state of strong alcoholic intoxication with the help of local beer. We tried it - it did not work out. Alcohol from the body evaporates faster than it can consume. Easy intoxication is the maximum effect that was achieved after 8 liters of Chinese Budweiser.
And that's what's amazing! On the Internet, they write quite different figures for the ethanol content in Chinese beer. On the sites of the same wikipedia, figures from 4 to 5 percent are indicated, but in reality there is simply no such beer in China. 2.5% is the maximum we saw personally.
The most popular beer in China is TsinTao (or Tsingtao, or Tsingtao). In order to try it, you do not need to go to China, as it is readily sold at the WOK-cafe in Moscow and other Russian cities. Its green label is recognizable (in the photo on the left).
Of course, everyone has a different taste, but in our opinion it is not very tasty. When you drink it, it seems that this beer is diluted with water. In any case, it's worth trying just out of curiosity.
Chinese rice vodka
It can only be bought in China. In Russia, we have never seen it. This group of Baijiu beverages (or BaiJiu or BaiJiu) is called. Its most famous brand Yanghe (Yanghe) has a recognizable packaging of blue. This is one of the most colorful and interesting gifts from China .
Prices for these drinks vary very much. Vodka Yanhe in a beautiful blue package costs from 50 USD. Other varieties can cost $ 15, it all depends on the manufacturer.
The first thing that distinguishes Baijiu is a strong smell. After opening the bottle, you can feel it at a distance of 3 meters. To Europeans this smell is very unaccustomed and it seems terrible. The Chinese like it. It is believed that the intensity of the smell determines the quality of the drink - the more it smells, the better.
To taste it is quite a worthy drink, not worse than high-quality Russian vodka. Just pinch your nose to not smell, and drink. Fortress Baijiu can be different depending on the brand - from 40 to 60 degrees.
Rice is the most popular raw material for the production of Baijiu, but not necessarily this alcoholic beverage must be produced from it. Baijiu is made from all kinds of cereal crops that are only available.
Ultra-cheap alcohol in China
We found him completely by accident. For the first time it happened in a small store in Shanghai near the garden of Joy . On the shelf with alcoholic beverages stood several bottles with strikingly low numbers on the price tag. One bottle of 0.5 liters cost 4 Chinese yuan (0.6 USD), and the second 6 yuan (0.9 USD). The Chinese government collects excise duties from alcohol producers in the same way as it is done in other countries. Such prices are insanely cheap even for China.
For the experiment, we bought both bottles and selected the experimental, which was the author of this article. The taste of these drinks are very much like a port with a taste of petroleum products. It is difficult to say what they were made of, but only a few sips were made, and all the rest of the contents went into the sink.
Probably, these drinks are targeted at the poorest sections of the population.
Traditional Chinese rice wine
It is also a very colorful souvenir from China, since it is bottled most often in spherical ceramic bottles with paintings in the traditional style. It looks very beautiful. It is also poured into ordinary glass bottles, but buying such an option does not make much sense.
It is called Huangiu (or Huangjiu, or Huangjiu), which translates literally "yellow wine." The word "huang", as you probably noticed from other articles of our cycle, means "yellow." For example, Yellow River is a yellow river. This drink does not necessarily have a yellow color, it is more likely that it is red or pink in color.
The smell of Huangiu is not much different from the Chinese vodka Baijiu - a strong and shocking Russian tourist. It is difficult to drink this wine for Europeans. With vodka it's easier, you can pinch your nose and drink a glass in a gulp, and do not drink wine that way.
We recommend it as an inexpensive souvenir for friends to give them to feel the whole color of China. Choose the most beautiful bottle and buy, the prices for Huangiu start at $ 5 per bottle 0.5 liters.
Have a good time in China, and read our articles about this country ( links below ).