Photo by harryalverson/Flickr CC
I'm no fan of food shows, but I make an exception for Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel, wherein the intrepid host travels the world consuming seemingly inedible parts of the animal and plant kingdoms. Who wants to watch ten kitchen brats try to make a cake when you can watch Zimmern try to eat a hen's uterus?
If Zimmern ever does a liquefied version of his show, I recommend he wrangle a bottle of Maotai, a leading brand of baijiu, or "white spirit." Baijiu is a broad category, covering virtually any high-ABV (alcohol by volume) liquor made in China--it is usually distilled from sorghum, but it can also be made from wheat, glutinous rice, millet, or Job's tears; depending on the region and ingredients, baijiu can be sweet or flowery, thick or thin.
According to Chinese media, baijiu is the best-selling liquor in the world, and Maotai is the most famous brand of baiju--and one of the few available in the United States. Maotai is pricey: Only finer Chinese restaurants in the States carry it, and the first time I tried it the bottle--stout, ceramic, and red, like a can of Chinese Barbasol--set us back $115 (fortunately, we split it 10 ways). It is normally served at room temperature, but like soju or sake it can be warmed on a burner.