Baijiu, China’s national drink served to US presidents Nixon and Reagan – where does this potent ‘fire water’ liquor come from and how is it made?

Origins series

Allegedly created 4,000 years ago by King Yi Di but promptly banned in fear future leaders would become alcoholics, the clear sorghum-based spirit has been produced in a variety of ways for centuries and at strengths up to 60 per cent – today it’s big business, with rare bottles worth many thousands of US dollars

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