The Great Spirit of Drink­ing


Special Focus - - Contents - Han Guangyue韩广岳

There is al­ways a funny show to watch at the end of each drink­ing party— the drunk­ards may be cry­ing and scream­ing, or per­haps tum­bling and vom­it­ing their in­nards out. When they sober up and are asked about the taste of their drink of choice, they would prob­a­bly tell you how bad it was. “The beer tastes like horse urine”; “red wine tastes like vine­gar”; “western liquors all have a dis­gust­ing smell of herbal medicine” are per­haps some re­ports one would hear. Is bai­jiu ( Chi­nese white rice­based spir­its) any bet­ter? Nah, the burn­ing throat is typ­i­cally all I can re­mem­ber—I feel bad about my stom­ach over­stuffed with beer or red wine. The western liquors choke me, but bai­jiu is just too hot. They say those high- end Western spir­its are good— Remy Martin, Château Lafite, Maota— but drink­ing them brings me lit­tle joy.

So, if you hap­pen to wit­ness this re­gret­ful way of drink­ing, you may say that Chi­nese peo­ple don’t know how to drink grace­fully as western­ers do, or that there is no such thing as “wine cul­ture” in China. How­ever, some essence of wine drink­ing does ex­ist in the long his­tory of the Chi­nese

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