Baijiu (pronounced “bye-joe”) is reportedly the most consumed spirit in the world, owing to the fact that it’s the most popular alcohol in China, home to 1.4 billion people. But for those for whom it’s not part of their culture, and for many for whom it is, it’s a challenging drink with pungent aromas that aren’t immediately appreciated by many people.
Nonetheless, some bartenders are finding things to do with it, including Van Chen of Bào Tea House in New York City, who mixes it with Campari and pomegranate juice among other things, and serves it in a teacup.
Farther uptown in Manhattan, Franklin Becker is frying blowfish tails and serving them on a piece of coral, and downtown, in Tribeca, Top Chef finalist George Pagonis is serving a traditional lamb shank dish at his new restaurant, Paros, named after an island in the Aegean Sea.
In Dayton, Ohio, at the Foundry in the AC Hotel, executive chef David Belknap draws on the ingredients of a loaded baked potato to make a unique pizza, and in Washington, D.C., on the new menu at Nama Ko, executive chef Derek Watson offers his own interpretation of a Japanese braised pork belly dish.
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