茅台 (Máotái) is China’s premier brand of báijiŭ – the national hard liquor. For the uninitiated, the name of the clear drink is pronounced roughly like “Bye, Joe!” and literally means “white liquor”, although that translation is as tasteless as calling wine a “red drink”.
As the most legendary (and expensive!) type of báijiŭ, Máotái is loved and steeped in tradition. Former foreign minister Chén Yì is known to have written a poem entitled “We’ll Meet Again in Nánjīng and Drink Máotái”, and Henry Kissinger is rumored to, on a trip to China, have told Premier Dèng Xiăopíng: “I think if we drink enough Máotái we can solve anything”.
Last year the company became the most valuable liquor company in the world, ahead of Diageo, the owner of the Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, and Guinness brands.
When drinking, remember to show respect by clinking your glass lower than the person you’re drinking with.
"You won't get a hangover", they said... Wikimedia Commons