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Episode Info:

In this eye opening conversation with Baijiu expert Derek Sandhaus, some of the topics we discuss include:

  • What Baijiu is - which might seem like a simple definitions game, but it’s way more interesting than that.
  • How Derek came to spend years in China studying the culture and learning as much as possible about Baijiu and the people who make and enjoy it.
  • What sort of microbial magic needs to happen in order to produce liquid alcohol from a solid fermentable mash - and to that end, what Baijiu shares in common with other spirits like open fermented Mezcal and dunder-fortified Jamaican rum.
  • We talk about two of Derek’s books, Baijiu: The Essential Guide to Chinese Spirits and Drunk in China, the most recent of the two.
  • We give you a crash course in the most popular styles of Baijiu and the regional cuisines they evolved to complement and then talk about where Baijiu might be heading in the coming years and decades.
  • We imagine what it would be like to share a bottle of Baijiu with legendary 8th Chinese drinker and poet Li Bai.
  • And much, much more.

Derek is a fascinating guy to interview, and the amount of time he’s spent researching and immersing himself in Chinese culture is a huge asset because the things he shares don’t feel purely academic. They’re based on real things he’s tasted, real places he’s visited, and real people whom he’s learned from.

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