I’m going to confess, I was never a very good student. I was terrible at getting homework assignments done, and I was terrible at the reading assignments. Even now, I have a hard time reading a book someone recommends, because it feels like an assignment.
I was going to tell you how this week was a fail. I’ve mentioned it before, but Memphis is a epicurean’s nightmare. When googling about Baijiu (pronounced by-joe) for this week’s drink of A Year of Drinking Adventurously, I came across this description and I was almost glad I couldn’t find it.
The most common flavor descriptors are sweaty socks, or rotten fruit, or things that are even more foul. In other words: To the unaccustomed, this stuff tastes weird. More generously, you might say it calls to mind the aroma of earthy, smoked pears
Then as I was sitting down to write about my failure, I finally cracked open the book and read what Jeff Cioletti had to say about Baijiu. As I was getting to the end of the chapter, he mentions a small local distillery in Portland, Oregon. I had that “I shoulda had a V-8 moment” and ran into the other room. Not 15 seconds later, I had my hand on the very bottle he references. How could I have forgotten my dear friends at Vinn Distillery?!
Vinn’s Baijiu does not taste like dirty socks, in the slightest. It is a family recipe they have been making for several generations. It has a hint of earthiness with a warm, lingering finish. I think if I were to have planned a cocktail, pear would pair nicely with the flavors.
Baijiu loosely translates to “white liquor” or “water of history” because it can be traced so far back. It is traditionally consumed with food and at room temperature. Only in the last few years has consuming it on it’s own become popular. Just as the Ly family of Vinn Distillery has been making the same recipe for years, so has every other baijiu producer. Very often, after fermentation, the spent grains go back into the pot for the next batch.
Our author talks to Yuan Lin, of CNS Enterprises about baijiu and my favorite thing he said in this chapter was “they see life as a continuous process; it takes and gives back at the same time. As soon as it takes something, it gives back. Otherwise life would cease to exist.” How true! This can be said of everything, but to know that you are drinking something that is giving a tiny nuanced nod to it’s origins, is almost daunting.
So, here’s to giving back, and finding a way to let our spirits live on. Cheers!