I love cooking with alcohol. The magnificent aromas, the satisfying glug of rich liquid pouring from the bottle, and, of course, the drinking. Sure, French cooking gets well-deserved attention for its liberal use of wine, and Japanese cooking wouldn’t be nearly as delicious without mirin and sake, but there are few places where alcohol is used as effectively, or as liberally, as in Chinese cuisines. If your pantry (or liquor cabinet) is short a bottle of Chinese wine, for cooking and for drinking, it’s time to fix that. And we’re here to help.
What is Chinese cooking wine?
Chinese wines are made by fermenting grain (typically rice or sticky rice mixed with millet, barley, or wheat) with a starter of molds and yeasts. There is a huge range of styles, from light, clear mijiu (similar to Japanese sake) to dark, sweet xiang xue jiu (“fragrant snow wine”). But when