The Sweet and Thick Rice-wine in Xian

The Sweet and Thick Rice-Wine (“Mijiu” in Chinese), also known dense wine, is one of the famous beverages of Xian City. It does not look clear as the popular white wine but rather resembles the soya bean milk with a little stickiness. Because of its special color, it was known as the “Jade Juice” in ancient times. With low alcohol content, the rice wine is suitable for all ages, even the old and children can enjoy a glass or two.

Sweet and Thick Rice-wine

A Kind of Sweet Wine Enjoyed Over 3,000 Years of Popularity

The earliest record about the making of the rice wine can be traced back to Shang and Zhou dynasties over 3,000 years ago.  This Mijiu was carefully brewed to have the sweet and mellow texture, which was really a delight to people’s taste buds and even favored by celebrities in ancient times, especially during Tang Dynasty (618-907) when the wine-making techniques were further improved.

It is said that Yang Yuhuan – an imperial concubine doted most by Emperor Xuanzong, once took a sip of this kind of wine and fell for its mellow texture since then. Besides, a lot of famous poets, such as Li Bai, Du Fu and Han Yu, also left countless poems with the wine mentioned between the lines.

A Healthy Drink Suitable for All Ages

Although called wine, Xi’an Mijiu has a particular low alcohol content of 0.5-1% and its special making techniques even make it a healthy drink for people of all ages. The rice wine is reported to be good for stopping cough, activating stomach function and invigorating blood circulation, therefore stimulating appetite and increasing body-heat. Therefore, the rice wine often appears in family dinners as drinks prepared especially for the elders and ladies.

Renowned Rice Wine Brands in Xi’an

1. Huang Gui 皇瑰

Speaking of rice wine, the first brand coming into Xi’an natives’ mind must be Huang Gui. Huang Gui Rice Wine is well-known for its rich aroma of osmanthus and mellow texture, and will leave a lingering aftertaste in your mouth. You can easily find Huang Gui Mijiu in most supermarkets in Xi’an and buy some when you travel in Xian.

2. Xi’an Restaurant 西安饭庄

Xi’an Restaurant is a time-honored brand with many branches throughout the city. The restaurant has developed various kinds of rice wine to meet different requirements, including traditional flavor, banquet wine, and wine more suitable for young people. It is recommended you pick one according to your taste as a souvenir of your Xian food tour.

The Bell Tower Branch 钟楼分店

Location: No. 110, South Street, Beilin District (at the southwest corner of the Bell Tower Square)

Grand Tang Dynasty Ever-Bright City Branch 大唐不夜城分店

Location: Block A6-F, No. 518, Yanta South Road, Yanta District

3. Yong Kang 永康

Yong Kang is another traditional Chinese rice wine brand in Xi’an. Yong Kang Mijiu has a little stronger taste than any other rice wine and can be purchased in common supermarkets in Xi’an.

How to Make Chinese Rice Wine at Home – Recipe

  1. Wash the glutinous rice clean, soak it in a bucket for over 4 hours, and then pour into a pot to steam for about 15 minutes till the rice is 80% cooked;
  2. Pour cold water over the rice, let it dry up a little, and mix the yeast evenly into the rice.
  3. Properly seal it in a vat for three-day fermentation at a temperature of about 30 degrees centigrade to get the fermented grains.

When the fermentation is finished, it’s time for you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Just get some fermented grains from the vat. Then pour in some cold water and churn it up. Finally, filter the fluid to get the milky rice wine. In cold weather, you can also boil up the rice wine to better warm your body and stomach.