The quest to make the undrinkable drinkable isn’t an easy one. For most, the burn, smell, and after effects of baijiu are rarely worth the effort that it takes to swallow it without convulsively spraying it out all over those in your company. But, what if we told you there were steps that could be taken to turn this malicious firewater around? Baijiu is without a doubt the cheapest spirit in China and the most widely consumed alcohol on the planet. With the addition of some simple ingredients, you can make it pass for something that’s almost, if not completely, drinkable.


Definitely the least successful of the batch. In this flavor battle, the kiwi was mercilessly slaughtered by the Erguotou. Kiwis are a popular choice for other spirits like gin or vodka, so we gave it a shot. There is a hint of the fruit in the mix, but it doesn’t match or overcome the distilled sorghum’s burning kitty litter flavor and aroma. Our recommendation if using a fruit: combine it with complementary but fierce flavors like ginger or vanilla bean.

500ml of Erguotou baijiu
2 cups of sliced kiwis


Kumquats and Star Anise

This one worked out pretty well, the star anise and kumquat combo giving it a pastis flavor with a slight citrus aroma. It could be used to splash in those bitter tiki drink favorites like the Jet Pilot or Paper Airplane. Even on its own, it is pretty easy to sip with little or no remnants of the Ergoutou to pillage your pallet.

500ml of Erguotou baijiu
2 cups of halved kumquats
5 star anise



Straight up, this one was very hot, if not somewhat astringent and harsh. We threw in six ounces of simple syrup, in hopes to dilute and make it more palatable, which it did ... more or less. We could imagine this working well in a daiquiri with some ginger syrup and lime juice, to round out the flavor a little. We realize that a significant portion of our readership are sadists, so feel free to play with the ratio of cinnamon and sugar if you like it when it burns.

500ml of Erguotou baijiu
4 cinnamon sticks
simple syrup to taste (optional)


Banana Chips

The flavor has a quick curve, going from delicious banana back to baijiu in a split second. It would be preferable if the taste were a long arch that resulted in an extended salsa dance with the Chiquita Banana lady with a little baijiu flavored burp an hour after imbibing, but we are not miracle workers. Regardless, after a few sips it becomes quite drinkable, although a heavy gulp may still cause a dangerous stomach turn.

500ml of Erguotou baijiu
2 cups of banana chips

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Photos: Kipp Whittaker

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