Thursday, December 4, 2008

Maotaing One On

Distilled from fermented sorghum, maotai (or moutai) is a clear Chinese wine that is, hold onto your hat, up to 55% alcohol. After igniting a cupful at their banquet table, Premier Zhou Enlai served it to President Nixon for toasting purposes in the Great Hall of the People in 1972, which helped make the product of southwestern China internationally famous.

Zhou told the President that it helped sustain him and Chairman Mao during the difficult days of the Long March in the 1930s. News comes today that as economic difficulty spreads in the PRC as elsewhere, the Chinese plan to increase their production of the brew by 2,000 tons a year.

When I get to know you better, I'll tell you my own maotai stories. See, there was this one evening in Xiamen in 1985...

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