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18 drinks China can't live without [Copy link] 中文

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Few can argue that baiju is China's most infamous drink. This omnipresent liquor is served liberally at banquets and stored on the shelves of convenience stores right next to the mineral water.

But toasting with 80-to-120-proof firewater with paint thinner undertones isn't everyone's idea of a refreshing beverage.
Not to worry, China has plenty more outlandish but delicious drinks to offer, from pearl milk tea to fermented rice wine.
Here are 18 beverages that keep the country refreshed.
1. Sinkiang Black Beer

Also known as Xinjiang Black Beer, this nutty-scented hooch hails from the Muslim grasslands in northwest China.

It has a strong flavor with a hint of brown sugar-like sweetness, like an American dark lager.

This ethnic ale goes well any Xinjiang meal, complementing lamb, cumin and other spices.

Goes beautifully with lamb skewers.

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2. Chivas mixed with green tea

Chinese night owls love drinking this late night/early morning concoction while belting out Hong Kong and Korean pop songs at the karaoke bar.

Fusing Scotch whisky with sweetened, bottled green tea, this cross-cultural mix has a smooth and honeyed taste.

Many glittery nightclubs include it on their drinks lists.

3. Pearl milk tea

One of the most popular soft drinks among young people in mainland China, this Taiwan import includes jelly or pudding-like bubbles in sweetened milk tea.

It has a slightly bitter aftertaste.

"I really enjoy the bubbles inside," says Li Yanyun, a 25-year-old teacher in Jiangxi province. "The black bubbles look like pearls. When I drink the pearl milk tea, it reminds me of my childhood."

The chewy "pearls" are actually made of tapioca and have a soft texture.

Dessert in a straw.

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4. C100

This is China's version of electrolyte water.

From lemon to grapefruit flavors, the vitamin-rich drink has a tangy, sweet and acidic lemonade taste.

It can be found at supermarkets throughout China, such as Carrefour.

Vitamins on the go.

5. Tieguanyin

Known as the “Iron Goddess of Mercy,” tieguanyin falls somewhere between green and black tea taste-wise, but is yellowish in color.

With a fresh floral aroma and a fruity, berry-like sweetness, this premium variety of oolong tea leaves a honey aftertaste.

Tieguanyin can be found throughout China in local teahouses, but it's most notably produced in Anxi, Fujian province.

Harvested in spring and autumn, the teat is sometimes referred to as "curled up leaves of jade."

One of China's best leafy teas.

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6. Salt soda water

A refreshing carbonated water that's been around since the 1960s -- mainly in Shanghai -- this was the drink of choice for locals before Coca-Cola knocked on China's door.

Hints of lemon and mint add a kick to the sweet and fizzy water.

Local convenience stores (especially in Shanghai) carry salt soda water.

7. Jiuniang (fermented sweet rice wine)

This soup-like Chinese dish is actually unfiltered rice wine, but has a very low alcohol content. Osmanthus flowers bring up the fragrance.

"Most of time, rice wine is made by families," says 26-year-old newspaper editor Qu Zhi, who grew up in the Shandong province. "There are some different brands of rice wine in the supermarket, but rice wine isn't common in restaurants."

Served during Dongzhi festival (also known as the "arrival of winter"), the warm beverage is sold by street vendors throughout China.

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8. Soybean milk

Yellow wheat beans are used to make China's version of the protein shake.

Ma Xin, a 28-year-old Weibo coordinator from Qinghai province, describes the popular drink as "very natural and a little sweet."

"When you combine different beans, it creates a different taste," she adds.

The drink is usually made at home with a milk machine. But fresh, boiled versions can be found at most breakfast stalls, which serve it sweet or savory.

All supermarkets and convenience stores carry bottled soy bean milk. Vitasoy is one of the more popular brands.

Milk for vegans.

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9. Chrysanthemum tea

Flowery in scent and taste, chrysanthemum tea is an herbal remedy. Reputed health benefits include cholesterol maintenance and sinus relief.

It's ubiquitous in Chinese restaurants and teahouses, though the most famous tea plantations are in Hubei, Hangzhou and Mount Huang.

Looks good, tastes even better.

10. Tsingtao beer

The most recognized Chinese beer in the world, Tsingtao is sold in 62 countries and region.

A lager with a high-malt flavor and a hint of hops, Tsingtao is easy to drink and doesn't leave a bitter aftertaste.

Produced in the seaside city of Qingdao, the German-style beer uses spring water from Laoshan in Shandong province, a mountain area known for its water purity.

The company imports its hops, yeast and barley from Australia and Canada.

The brew can be found in any restaurant, supermarket and convenience store in China.

So popular it's sometimes sold in plastic bags.

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11. Coconut milk

China's canned coconut milk is made from the meat of the fruit. Milk, water and sugar give it a thicker consistency than regular coconut water.

Incredibly sweet, it can be found across China, but is particularly popular in southern parts of the country.

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