What’s the most popular spirit in the world? Vodka? Rum? Whisky? Baijiu? Yep, Baijiu.
So what is it and how on earth do you pronounce it? Baijiu is a Chinese spirit made from grain, and is generally between 40%-60% in alcohol by volume. In 1949, the Chinese Communist Party seized power and the first business licence granted by the People's Republic of China was to Red Star, this was to produce alcohol to celebrate the nation's inaugural ceremony on October 1st 1949. This shows the importance of baijiu and Red Star is available at FU!
Liverpool is a city with a huge multicultural population. Many people immigrated to Liverpool, from all over the world during its days as a commercial port. So it’s not unusual for us to be home to a large number of multicultural bars and eateries.
Many Chinese immigrants first arrived in the city in the late 1850s as seamen of Alfred Holt and Company while establishing the Blue Funnel Shipping Line, creating strong trade links between Liverpool and Shanghai. The seamen boarded in houses close to the docks and some Chinese sailors decided to settle in the city. Gradually from the 1890s, Chinese people began to set up stores and cafes in Liverpool. And so Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe.
Now we’re home to the FIRST ever dedicated Baijiu bar in Europe. We went to take a look at what the craze is all about, and become a little more familiar with the most popular spirt in the world.
Just off Hanover Street, on the less busy and bustling streets off of Hanover is Gradwell Street. This is where you’ll find the hidden gem that is FU Baijiu – the first ever dedicated Baijiu bar in Europe that lets visitors get acquainted with the unique liquor.
FU stocks around 10 different types of Baijiu – which translates as ‘white liqour’ – which the very knowledgeable and passionate team there, aim to introduce to those who have never heard of the drink before. The spirit is made from sorghum, a grain that grows mainly in America, parts of Asia and parts of Australia.
After trying the spirit ourselves, it really isn’t like anything we’ve ever tried before. It doesn’t have the sweetness of rum or the dry bite of vodka. It’s strong, the alcohol is felt immediately and for a long lingering 10 seconds after. You really have to try it yourself.
The Chinese enjoy the spirit straight alongside their meal, like we enjoy a glass a wine… But perhaps start with our below guidelines.
How to get up close and personal with Baijiu
For those who want to jump in at the deep end and enjoy the spirit like our Chinese friends, go straight up shot… and it is shot. It’s definitely not something that can be sipped.
If you still want to enjoy the spirit traditionally, FU have a number of ranges that vary in flavour for those who prefer this to a dry, earthy liquor.
Ease yourself in with an infusion or cocktail
To make the spirit more palatable for those who aren’t confident with the traditional way, the team infuse the Baijiu with a number of herbs, spices and fruits to make the spirit less hard hitting.
You can also try a number of cocktails made with Baijiu, for a more westernised drink.
Enjoy it with something a little more familiar
The best thing about FU is that you’re not limited to drinking just Baijiu. In fact one of the most popular combinations they serve is a shot of Baijiu and a bottle of beer or a trusty G&T.
But, don’t have your beer on standby, oh no. Let the aftertaste and shock of the Baijiu resonate through your senses for at least 8 seconds before moving onto your more familiar beverage to really appreciate the liquor.
Some people actually pour their Baijiu into their beer! That is what makes this spirit so different, can you imagine pouring a shot of Vodka into your crisp pint of lager? Us neither.
Get a flight
No, we don’t mean get on a plane and head over to China. We mean a tasting board with a selection of different Baijius to try. Take a peek inside the menu at the tasting notes and enjoy the Eastern experience.
Try some Ghetto Dim Sum
It’s best to enjoy a bite to eat with your Baijiu, so take a look at their nibbles that includes slow roasted pork belly in sticky black bean sauce, crab and crayfish samosas and carrot, feta and mint spring rolls.
We urge you to try the best-selling spirit in the world, let’s celebrate Liverpool’s links with China.
Fu Baijiu is open from 5pm to midnight Wednesday to Friday and 12pm to midnight on Saturday and Sunday.