Mellow yellow

By Xing Yi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-09-23 09:19:44

Mellow yellow

[Photo provided to China Daily]

Shaoxing huangjiu is aged in earthenware vats, sometimes for decades. The longer it ages, the better the quality, and the aged spirit is usually reserved for special occasions.

Local people traditionally store huangjiu for newborns; families will put urns of the spirit into the cellar and age it for a daughter's wedding banquet, giving the huangjiu the romantic name nyu'erhong, or daughter red. For sons, the stored huangjiu is called zhuangyuanhong, or scholar red, as it will be opened when the son graduates from college.

Unlike most alcohol in the West that is drunk cold, local people love to drink huangjiu warm, and usually drink it with edamame beans, stinky tofu or salty fish. Huangjiu is also used as a cooking wine in China.

But if you really want to drink huangjiu cooled, add some ice with plum, lemon or ginger into the wine and you have a refreshing summer drink.

Just like sake with sashimi, and red wine with steak, huangjiu and crab is a classic combination: Chinese people believe that crab is a cooling food, and the warmed yellow wine does the necessary countering to keep balance of yin and yang in human body.

In order to appeal to young people's taste, a local producer also invented a huangjiu-flavored ice-cream stick, which appeared in stories this summer. Wrapped in golden foil, the novel ice-cream was an instant hit, with more than 10,000 sticks sold in the first month.

If you travel to Shaoxing, don't forget to visit the museum of huangjiu located in the northwest of the city, where you can watch the whole brewing process in the workshop, go down to the cellar, and taste the different types of huangjiu.

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