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Rise of Chinese baijiu: from a humble drink to a chic in US

baijiu cocktails, chinese baijiu

Among Chinese people, baijiu is renowned as more than a drink. It's a national symbol. Yet, for foreign drinkers, the overpowering flavor of this high-proof spirit usually makes for an overwhelming experience.

在中国人心目中,白酒不仅是作为一种酒而出名,它还是民族的符号。但是对于外国人来说,这种高度酒的呛人口味往往令他们难以驾驭。

In 1972, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai toasted US President Richard Nixon with baijiu for rekindling relations between the US and China. US reporter Dan Rather described this iconic drink as "liquid razor blades". And even today, baijiu is still being depicted as firewater or rocket fuel among Westerners. 

1972年,时任美国总统的理查德•尼克松访华。周恩来总理正是用白酒来致敬两国重建邦交。美国记者丹•拉瑟用"液体刀片"来形容白酒。时至今日,西方人还会将白酒描述成"烈酒"或者"火箭燃料"。

But thanks to the creative minds in the alcohol business, this powerful liquor is becoming the new darling of the bar-goers in major US cities like New York, Washington and Los Angeles. 

但是得益于酒商的巧思,在纽约、华盛顿以及洛杉矶等美国大城市,浓烈的白酒正在成为爱酒者的新宠。

"We've made [baijiu] much more palatable to American tastes," Matt Trusch, the founder of Bye Joe USA distillery, explained to the Reuters. What Trusch does is re-filter traditional Chinese baijiu to lower the alcohol level.

"我们让白酒更适于美国人的口味,"马特•库斯奇向路透社解释道。作为Bye Joe美国白酒酿造厂的创始人,他将中国传统白酒重新过滤以降低它的酒精浓度。

Other creative twists are also being implemented to promote baijiu in the US. Bartenders have concocted baijiu cocktails with an array of ingredients including vinegar, milk, juice and fruits.

其他一些奇思妙想也让白酒在美国推广开来。调酒师们利用白酒以及醋、牛奶、果汁和水果等一系列原料调制出了白酒鸡尾酒。

Some bars even take more extreme approaches. In New York, a Brooklyn bar named JakeWal combines baijiu with exotic spirits such as Italian myrtle berry liqueur. And others mix baijiu with powerful liquors like rum to balance the flavor.

一些酒吧甚至有更绝的招数。纽约布鲁克林一家名为杰克沃的酒吧将白酒与意大利爱神木果利口酒和其他一些异国烈酒混和。另一些酒吧将白酒与朗姆酒等烈酒混合来调和它的口味。

"The key to making a good baijiu cocktail is to pair it with equally powerful flavors," New York bartender Sam Anderson told The New York Times. 

"秘诀就是将白酒和同样浓烈的酒品搭配在一起,"纽约的调酒师山姆•安德森告诉《纽约时报》。

With their distinctive flavor and aftertaste, baijiu cocktails stand out from other classic drinks made from traditional spirits like whiskey, tequila and vodka. The pungent taste may discourage some, but it's actually a draw for many adventurous young drinkers. 

独特的口味和回味让白酒鸡尾酒从威士忌、龙舌兰酒和伏特加等一众传统烈酒中脱颖而出。它的刺激性口感虽然让一些人望而却步,但是这也正让它吸引了一批富有冒险精神的年轻人。

"It's a powerful fragrance," Orson Salicetti, a bar owner in Manhattan, told NBC News. "The advantages of baijiu to me are the sweet, mature fruits, nutty and sherry flavors." 

"它的香气浓烈," 曼哈顿一家酒吧的老板奥森•沙利斯蒂告诉美国全国广播公司。 "对我来说,白酒好就好在它甜美醇熟的果香以及与雪利酒相似的坚果口味。"

Interestingly, hipster culture in the US might be the driving force behind the baijiubandwagon. "[Baijiu] is old yet strangely new, and it is popular yet not quite for everyone," US artist Bradley Theodore told The Wall Street Journal. "I think it will become the Asian tequila." 

有趣的是,美国的嬉皮士文化也推动了这股白酒热潮。"白酒虽然历史悠久但却让人耳目一新。它盛行,但并不是每个人都行," 美国艺术家布拉德利•西奥多对《华尔街日报》这样说。"我认为它会成为亚洲的龙舌兰酒。"

2016-06-23

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