Red Star is the world’s go-to low-end baijiu, and it’s an acquired taste if ever there was one. It’s the Budweiser of baijiu – cheap, everywhere, but incredibly reliable its quality. It’s a known quantity, and you’ll see it all over the world. In the US where we focus, you’ll still see it pretty much anywhere that carries baijiu. The flavor is strong (although it is in the ‘light aroma’ category, and it’s pretty astringent.
It’s not too sweet, and there’s a chemical clovey-ness to it as well. It’s raw on the throat, and the synthetic alcohol tang tells you right away: this is poison. But drink a few, and you’ll realize: it’s poison with a consistent, surprisingly delicious character. That makes it sound bad, but I think it’s like a lot of global alcohol brands: not great, but reliable.
Fun fact: Red Star was issued the very first business license ever by the PRC. That’s how important baijiu is.
Buy it: You can find Red Star in pretty much any place that stocks an assortment of baijiu. Really, it will be the most common baijiu you’ll find.
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