Long, long ago, years before I was a Bai-ologist or could even tell an erguotou from a Fenjiu, I decided that I wanted to write about China. I worked on the topic for several years, plowing my way through a handful of books on history and culture. Then one day I got a crazy notion in my head: Why don’t I write a book about baijiu?
It was a half-serious idea, inspired by the seeming contradiction of a drink that was at once beloved in within its home country and reviled without. What am I missing? I wondered. What are we missing?
So I started a blog (people still did such things back in those days), went to my local liquor store, and began writing. This sent me a down road that I am still walking. It led to a different book than the one I had set out to write. It turned me into an expert and a consultant, and later into someone with a baijiu brand of his own.
But all the while there was the kernel of a book to answer that one fundamental question: What is the world missing about baijiu?
I kept plugging away when I could. I researched and wrote, and I revised again and again as I encountered new ideas and information. And now, almost a decade after the journey began, I am pleased to announce the publication of that book. Please meet Drunk in China: Baijiu and the World’s Oldest Drinking Culture, coming out on November 1.
This is a book that I poured myself into, and I consider it my fullest exploration of the topic to date. It covers history and culture, religion and science. It has my favorite Chinese drinking stories, personal and borrowed. And at its core it examines the relationship between China and alcohol, and uses that story to explore how the world sees them both. I’m happy share it with you for the first time.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. New York Times editor Clay Risen, author of Single Malt, says: “It’s not just about baijiu—although it offers a master class on the subject. It’s about China and its history, culture, and relationship with the West, told through the perspective of a witty, generous storyteller.” Jen Lin-Liu, author of On the Noodle Road, calls it, “a spirited, entertaining journey”. And Publishers Weekly named Drunk in China one of its “Big Indie Books” for Fall 2019.”
So how do baijiu lovers get their hands on this book? Well, loyal readers, I have good news. By clicking this link and entering code 6AS19 at checkout, you can get a hardcover copy for 40% off the listed price.
And for those of you in the United States, watch this space. A number of book talks, and corresponding Ming River-sponsored drinks events, are coming your way. Don’t miss your chance to ganbei with me in person! Here are the tour dates so far, and more will be announced in the coming months.
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