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Moutai Liquor


kguetzow
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I've got two bottles of it in my kitchen at this very moment, both of them Christmas gifts from a Chinese colleague. Very cool bottles (one of them is the sort depicted in Hiroyuki's wikipedia link upthread), very strong liquor with a distinctive taste that I find, um, off-putting.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Thank you for moving this thread Kristin.

The web info I can find on the stuff is quite weird and typically asian/english semi-nonsense. The company website/websites is very peculiar, claims to cause no liver damage, and be a health food. While another site says it kills cockroaches on contact. Hmm? can it remove stubborn stains from my whites? The only site I could find that sells it was charging $121.00 a bottle.

It smells like sherry and sorta tastes like Soju with a dash of soy sauce.

Edited by kguetzow (log)
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The web info I can find on the stuff is quite weird and typically asian/english semi-nonsense.  The company website/websites is very peculiar,  claims to cause no liver damage, and be a health food. While another site says it kills cockroaches on contact.  Hmm? can it remove stubborn stains from my whites?  The only site I could find that sells it was charging $121.00 a bottle.

It smells like sherry and sorta tastes like Soju with a dash of soy sauce.

Moutai is a very strong liqueur. Chinese drink it during the meal, not after (like we do Cognac and XO :smile: ). It is seen as "the" drink good enough for official state dinners. That's the stuff they served Nixon during his historic visit to China.

Unlike XO, its strong taste and high alcohcol content makes it hard to sip and hold. Most of us drink Moutai with small Chinese cups that look like shot glasses. You usually drink a small shot at a time, but hold the cup straight up and swallow it. The alcohol effect will kick in immediately. It may not feel like much at the time, and you want to drink more and more... the hang over can be nasty if overdosed. (Gee... how do I know that? :laugh: )

It is quite expensive. I don't think you want to use it as a pesticide or cloth cleaner. You can get cheaper products for those! In the US they are selling a small size bottle for about US$20 to $30. If you are willing to pay US$121 a bottle, let me know and I will sell you a truckload. :smile:

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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There is a significant gift giving culture that causes certain items to have very inflated prices, like tea, liquor and cigarettes. It is not uncommon to give new business contacts 100g containers of tea that cost more than USD 100, Panda-brand cigarettes that are USD 9 a pack (of course no one gives a pack, you have to give a carton or two) and of course moutai liquor. Foreign liquor like cognac and whiskey are also gaining in popularity.

What I meant by "the emperor wears no clothes" is that moutai, really, is a low quality liquor and yet everyone pays exorbitant amounts for it. It is very similar to vodka in taste -- and you should know that premium vodka is a scam. Just how much taste can a 150-proof liquor have?

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The term "moutai" is one of those branding things that is passing into common parlance. Like Ketsup. It's easier to tell people they're drinking moutai than to go into the specific details of which other brand it is, where it comes from, etc.

As you point out, it would be better to be generic, and say something like "white spirits" (although that does evoke images of Casper and his cousins in the haunted house.....). As such, distillation standards can vary quite heavily, and there's a lot that can go wrong in the heads and tails that don't get tossed at the right points.

Myself, I cannot say that I am a big fan of Chinese white spirits. And this is coming from a man who spent an evening drinking bottles of what turned out to be Vietnamese cough syrup. The spirits are harsh, with little mellowness, and a backbite that can have you on all fours howling at the moon in the parking lot of the Great Wall Restaurant #8 in Zhou Zhou.....ignore that last statement.

I also agree with the earlier statement that these things are inflated in price for face value. While I would take exception on the part of the teas (there are some excellent teas to be had, and they will cost you quite a bit) these spirits are a fairly straight distillation run, so there's not a lot of care or scarcity in ingredients.

That's my two bits.

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If I can be forgiven a slight side excursion:

Are any of you familiar with a liquor called something like "Du Kang"? When I was in Zheng Zhou, we had a few bottles of it, and it was actually very nice. Sadly, we didn't bring any home. I wouldn't mind having it again. The best one we tried was actually sold in a clay jug of sorts, where you had to break the top off.

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Are any of you familiar with a liquor called something like "Du Kang"?

Yes, Du Kang (杜康)

Looks like this?

g01136790761032.jpg

Yes! That's a different shape of clay bottle -- the one we had was shaped like a drinking gourd -- but I'm sure that's the stuff!

Is it a regional thing?

Do you know whether it's imported to the US?

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  • 2 weeks later...
There is a good deal of information here.

I would be surprised if it isn't available in a decent Chinese supermarket. It is one of China's most famous liquors.

Interestingly, I was out in L.A. this weekend and tried to get it at the markets in Chinatown. It took me several tries before I found someone who understood what I was asking for (I hadn't printed out the thread, and I don't know the tones) -- and he told me that it's now banned from importation to the US. No idea why. He listed a couple other things that are also banned, including snake wine :blink: , but I don't think Du Kang's ingredients are anywhere near that exotic.

He did say I might be able to get it in New York, "where they have more kinds of alcohol."

Strange...

Edited by jmsaul (log)
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Anyone know of any stores in the San Francisco Bay Area with a good selection of Asian liquors?

I'm specifically looking for Arrack, a spirit distilled from Palm Toddy, which comes from Sri Lanka or Indonesia.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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The best way to enjoy your gift:

1. Call some of your more open-minded drinking friends and invite them out for some good, greasy Beijing Duck.

2. Bring both bottles.

3. Pay the corking fee, and if the boss of the place is Chinese and a man, invite him over for a cigarette and a glass with your friends (sure he's probably had the stuff a zillion times, but its a matter of face).

4. Everyone thank him for the great food and allowing you to bring in your own liquor, lift your glass and say "GAHN-BAY!" (actually 干杯 "gan bei" meaning "bottoms up") and finish it.

5. Show the boss the bottom of your glass, signifying that you did indeed kill it and thus gave him face.

6. Give him another cigarette. Preferably a Chunghwa (中华).

7. Give him an out so he can continue working, or if he's cool with it, pour him another.

8. Continue drinking until you've finished one or both bottles. Pay the bill (which may not include the corking fee), go home and realize that you now enjoy drinking Maotai, Wu Liang Ye, Erguotou or any other type of baijiu (chinese white spirit).

As with many things Chinese, its contextual and should be enjoyed as such...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Check out:

http://www.cbw.com/company/moutai/3.html

The original Moutai is the national wine/liquor of China, a recipe from several centuries ago. It used to only be available to the richest people and government officials.

My husband and I love this stuff. You can sometimes only get it in Chinatown, NY. We get it at Walker Liquors, by Lafayette and Center St., Manhattan.

A taijiquan student of mine just informed me recently that you can purchase the stuff in a liquor store in Parsippany, NJ, located next to the CompUSA at 1099 Route 46 East, Troy Hills Shopping Center; Parsippany, NJ 07054.

You can even use this sparingly in high Chinese cooking, but don't waste it! It's about $30/bottle!

It's made from sorghum (a grass/grain crop) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorghum.

It also is made from rice wine.

A tip: Take the cap off the bottle and let it "breathe" for 6-12 hours. The taste will MUCH deepen and improve!

Kinda tastes to me like a combination of cherry-almond nougat, sake, a hint of chocolate... and stinky socks!!!

I hope you enjoy this VERY Chinese beverage!

-Loretta Donnelly

www.internalgardens.com

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