Photo courtesy of Capital Spirits 首都酒坊
Baijiu is China's national liquor, a fiery, strong spirit (a whopping 40 to 60 percent alcohol). It's wildly popular across China and is the drink of choice at banquets, but baijiu hasn't made inroads outside the Middle Kingdom or even with its growing expat population. Enter Capital Spirits, the world's very first baijiu bar, opened in a hutong by a quintet of foreigners. Dip your toe in the baijiu pool with a tasting flight, four small pours ranging from the lightest, a rice-based baijiu, to one whose fragrance brings to mind nail polish remover. If you’re feeling brave, order a glass of snake-infused baijiu and, if you’re not, a cocktail made with the spirit.
By Sophie Friedman, AFAR Local Expert
Think you can’t drink baijiu? We didn’t either until we visited Capital Spirits. Try the national liquor in a flight, served in traditional glasses. If you still can’t stomach the fiery taste of baijiu, Capital Spirits also offers baijiu-infused cocktails that go down surprisingly smooth. While Western visitors may find tables too squat for their liking, the intention is to mirror the rowdy baijiu-swilling locals you’ll find drinking al fresco at low plastic tables on a hot summer’s day.
By Lisa Gay
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