Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A pocket full of moonshine

Gawd, am I really coming back to THIS?????

Well, NO. Much as I have loved to drink to excess over the years, and curious as I am to try new types of alcoholic beverage, reckless as I often am of my own safety, and indulgent though I be towards many of the less obviously appealing quirkinesses of life in China... I have never liked erguotou.

Even though it is the cheapest way of getting drunk in Beijing (and perhaps in the whole world), I have always believed that, above all, drinking should be a pleasurable experience. I can tolerate most forms of baijiu (Chinese spirit); tolerate with difficulty, but, yes, tolerate; and there are just a few varieties that I even quite like. But erguotou is the cheapest and crummiest of the lot, wildly uneven in its taste and quality - varying from nasty to disgusting.

There are very many things that I have enjoyed about drinking in China over the years, and may enjoy again, but... the hip bottle of erguotou is not one of them. You can use this stuff for disinfecting work surfaces or for lighting a barbecue, but for drinking - never!

However, in searching out the above photograph just now, I was fortunate to stumble across a new China blog in which intrepid laowai Derek Sandhaus is attempting to cultivate a genuine appreciation for the 'subtleties' of baijiu by pushing himself beyond its alleged 300-shot threshold of acclimatisation

Good luck to him! I'm glad he's doing it, so that no-one else has to. 

[Although, come to think of it, I must be getting pretty damn close to that consumption total myself. In fact, I probably exceeded it on my first visit to China 18 years ago. And I have found no signs whatsoever of getting over the distaste for it.]

The 'lads' are preparing my 'Welcome home!' already...

1 comment:

Mike said...

Agreed, I've never managed to get into the stuff - it's just rank. Remember soon after coming to China going to a wedding, where guys were literally ganbei'ing saucers of the stuff. My Scottish alcohol machismo induced me to try to keep up, but I had to give up after three saucers, much to their delight. But yuck.