Old Version

Drinking Chinese Baijiu the American Way

Connoisseur William Isler talks about China's most famous spirit and its potential market in the US

By Xie Yi Updated May.11

Bill Isler’s first encounter with baijiu at a street food stall in Beijing was awful. “The worst thing I’ve ever had in my life,” he said of the fiery, clear alcohol. Twenty years later, Isler is a true connoisseur: He not only was part of the team that opened the world’s first baijiu bar in Beijing, Capital Spirits, but also is sharing his passion for the famed beverage by bringing Sichuanese liquor brand Ming River to the US. Sitting down with NewsChina, Isler shares stories of his once hard-to-swallow relationship with baijiu, choice pairings for different meals and his insights into the differences between Chinese and American drinking cultures.