Many Chinese alcoholic drinks are quite distinctive from those of other countries and foreign visitors coming across them for the first time may a little wary of them. However, once they have tasted a sample or two, they may well acquire a taste for the various drinks available and find they really enjoy them!
An important component of Chinese cuisine and culture, the use of alcohol can be traced back to the dawn of the nation"s history.
Over the centuries many different kinds of alcoholic drinks have been developed and brewing methods as well as distillation has become more sophisticated. At the same time the way of consuming these desirable products has become a vital part of custom and culture.
Alcoholic beverages have inspired many writers resulting in thousands of poems and other works relative to "the magic elixir". People drink it when they are joyous and for fun and although we are aware that an over indulgence can harm the constitution, nevertheless drinking in moderation is considered beneficial. No banquet would be complete without it, while a toast can seal a business enterprise, send troops into battle with a prayer for victory as well as endorse a wish for the health and happiness of family and friends.
One of the classic examples of the ceremonial use of alcohol is described in the famous story "Romance of the Three Kingdoms". The three heroes in the epic tale, become blood brothers by drinking bowls of wine into which they have mixed drops of their own blood from cuts in their fingers! This act may seem extreme but was a symbol of faithfulness in those days.