Oh lord, baijiu.

A sorghum liquor with 5,000 years of history.

The most consumed spirit in the world.

“Like a divorce in my mouth”:

It’s an acquired taste, and today (August 9) is World Baijiu Day, so there’s really no better time to acquaint yourself with this most ancient of hooches. The holiday was invented three years ago by Jim Boyce, a longtime observer and indulger on the Beijing food and drink scene, who’s taken it as his crusade to remove the negative stigma attached to this mighty booze:

World Baijiu Day aims to give further exposure to this spirit, which is typically drunk lukewarm as shots to the toast “ganbei” (“dry glass”), a tough introduction for most people. Given this, the informal theme is “beyond ganbei” and participating venues in over 20 cities have embraced it by offering everything from cocktails, infusions and liqueuers to baijiu-inspired pizzas, beer and ice cream to flights and food pairings.

If you happen to be in Beijing, you can toast the made-up holiday with some highly palatable baijiu cocktails, such as this cute lil tiki guy:

or a refreshing spritz:

In only three years of life, World Baijiu Day has already set root in the US. This year’s edition includes events in DC, LA, Boston, Portland, Oregon and Waikoloa, Hawaii, so head to one of those if you’re in the area and want a taste.

If not, maybe try to track down a bottle of Vinn, one of the only US-produced baijiu brands, and empty a cup or two to traditions old and new.

Related:

5 Obscure Chinese Liquors You’ve Never Heard Of

 

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