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Chinese Alcohol, Chinese Spirits | Updated: 2010-10-27 15:07

Drinking Etiquette

"A thousand cups of wine is not too much when bosom friends meet," according to an old Chinese saying. In fact, drinking together is an essential part of socializing and camaraderie. Thus, like any code of social conduct, drinking adheres to strict rules:

Chinese Alcohol, Chinese Spirits 

1. One should never refuse to participate in a toast, as that could be interpreted as being impolite. All people sitting at the same table must stand up, upon the initiative of one of the guests, and toast in succession.

2. Elderly people and superiors should be served first. One should make sure not to raise his/her glass higher than those of the respected elders.

3. If “ganbei” is called, the drinkers must drink all the contents of their glasses, and then show the other guests their glasses are empty.

From wine making techniques we can glimpse a bit of the wisdom of the ancient Chinese; from the relationship between wine and literati or knights, as well as various writings about wine, we can spot a trace of the accomplishments of intellectuals in ancient times; from policy measures prohibiting wine making and measures levying wine taxes, we can discover certain links between wine and national taxes; and from such concepts as the virtues of wine drinking and such customs as playing various games during wine drinking, we can ascertain the cultural concepts and ideology of traditional Chinese people. Wine is an important part of dietary culture, and its significance in Chinese culture should not be overlooked.

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