China Contemplates Whether Adding Gold to Liquor and Spirits is a Sign of Luxury or Misfortune

Chinese health officials are mulling over whether to legalize the addition of gold flakes to spirits like baijiu

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Some distillers have already begun selling baijiu with gold flakes for those who seek a more opulent drinking experience. 

Despite ongoing efforts to curb corruption in the country, Chinese officials of the National Health and Family Planning Commission are reportedly in the midst of considering whether or not spirits-makers should be allowed to add flakes of gold to baijiu, a ubiquitous distilled spirit.

In the meantime, some Chinese distillers have reportedly already begun selling baijiu with gold flakes, inspired by the connotations of luxury established by European liquors like Goldschläger and Goldwasser.

On the other hand, Chinese literature also provides a long precedent for avoiding the consumption of gold at all costs, as the act of gilded consumption is also a means of suicide in classic texts and Chinese folklore.

“I’m still not clear on the purpose of adding gold flake to baijiu,” Ma Yong, a member of the baijiu expert committee of the China National Food Industry Association, told The Beijing Times.

However, a baijiu drinker interviewed by the publication did have some insight: “When the gold flashes, it gives you a lot of face, but as far as the taste, it makes no difference.”

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