I am miffed that my favourite brand of baijiu, Nongxiang Jingjiu, seems to have disappeared from stores of late.
Maybe it hasn't been withdrawn from sale; maybe it's just that the packaging has changed, making it impossible to recognise (and most baijiu packaging is pretty indistinguishable anyway); or maybe it's just 'hiding' amid the plethora of similar brands on the shelves (an entire aisle of my local supermarket is packed with the stuff - already gearing up for the Chinese New Year festivities next month). But it is invisible to me, and I miss it. Last time I had to make do with something called Jinliufu. Similar price point, but far less palatable - even copious quantities of orange juice can't quite drown out its petrol-like savour.
These observations will, I'm sure, provoke consternation and derision from many of my fellow China expats. All baijiu, even the most "palatable" varieties, is pretty nasty stuff - rotgut. Few foreigners will admit to drinking it at all. Displaying a knowledge of a number of different brands, espousing a favourite, advocating its consumption with mixers..... these are indications of an excessive familiarity, an alarming suggestion that yours truly has abandoned all pretence of shame or self-respect, taste or refinement, discrimination or restraint, that he has, to put it bluntly, started going native.....
I don't think that's true. Jingjiu really is quite drinkable, not at all unpleasant (once you get used to it....). And it is endearingly cheap (and I am, of course, trying to live on a very slender budget these days). I need to find me a new source of supply. Scoff, if you will.