Chinese Rice Wine (Mijiu) - Thousands of Years’ Old Brewage in China

Chinese rice wine or Mijiu is a traditional wine made from glutinous rice. With sweet taste, low alcoholicity, and rich nutrients, it has been popular among all ages in China for thousands of years. You can drink rice wine directly, after being heated or stored in refrigerator. Besides, it is widely used to make Chinese dishes. Among various brands, the Chinese rice liquor made in Xiaogan, Hubei Province is the most famous.

Nutritive Value and Health Benefits

Chinese Rice Wine contains more than ten kinds of amino acids, thus people call it liquid cake. The nutrients in it can be easily absorbed, including the elderly people, pregnant women and the weak people. Chinese rice liquor has the functions of promoting appetite, helping digestion, relieving summer heat, refreshing oneself, promoting blood circulation, and moisturizing skin.

2 Ways to Drink Chinese Rice Wine

Chinese Rice Wine can be directly drunk or be heated or stored in refrigerator before drinking. In cold days, you’d better drink hot rice wine, which can warm you up and help fight against coldness. In summer, you can cool it in refrigerator before drinking.

For those people who suffer from blood stasis, rheumatoid arthritis, backache and numbness of hands and feet, the warm rice wine is more suitable for them.

Popular Chinese Dishes Made with Rice Wine

Chinese Rice liquor is also used in cooking. It can not only be added as a seasoning to remove unpleasant smell from food, but also be used as cooking material.

Egg Soup with Rice Wine

It is quite easy to make. Boil water, add in egg liquid and rice wine. When it boiled again, pour it into a bowl, add in sugar and the dish is ready.

Glutinous Rice Balls with Rice Wine

Rice wine and fresh egg liquid are added while boiling Glutinous Rice Balls (Tangyuan). After being cooked, add some sugar. 

Rice Wine with Cherries

Boiling pitted cherries, peas and Chinese rice wine together, it thus form a dessert loved by people. A little salt must be added into the Cherries Rice Wine to avoid the dish being too sweet.

People simmer Chinese Rice Wine together with other diced fruits as well.

Rice Wined Chicken Drumsticks

Boil chicken drumsticks with rice wine, ginger and salt together. After being cooked, add ice cubes into the chicken drumsticks for them to cool down quickly. After, cut them and serve on a plate together with your favored sauce.  

Other Uses in Daily Life

It can also thaw the frozen fish easily. Ladle some rice wine to the fish or soak the fish in rice wine, the frozen fish will be thawed a few minutes later.

What’s more, sprinkling a few drops of rice wine on stale bread and heating the bread in the microwave oven for a few whole, you will find that the bread turn to be fresh, and the taste is good as well.

How to Make Chinese Rice Wine at Home

1. Clean and soak glutinous rice in cold water till it can be smashed easily by finger.

2. Steam soaked glutinous rice for about 30 minutes.

3. Cool the steamed rice and add yeast:
Place steamed rice in a dry and clean pot. When the temperature drops to 30-40°C (90-100°F), mix yeast with a little warm water, spread the yeast water into the rice and mix them well. The rice and yeast ratio is about 65:1, that is 15g yeast for 1kg rice.

4. Ferment the treated glutinous rice:
Press the rice slightly with a spoon, dig a hole in the middle, and then sprinkle some cold boiled water on the rice. Cover the pot and put it somewhere for natural fermentation. It takes about 24 hours in hot days and 36 hours in cold days for the fermentation.

Note: The key to make rice wine successfully is that the utensils must be clean and there is no oil stain. Oil stain would lead the rice get mildewed.

How to Store

In order to prevent further alcoholization of the rice wine, it needs to be stored in refrigerator or in cool places.

There are some ways to prolong the preservation time of rice wine. Put a fresh egg on the container of rice wine. Two hours later, you can see the color of egg shell become darker. Longer time egg is there, darker color the shell is. In this way, the preservation time of Chinese rice wine could be prolonged by 2.5 times. Another way is putting rice wine together with its container in boiling water and boiling them for 10 minutes.


China has thousands of years’ history of making high-quality rough glutinous rice wine. According to early records, it can be seen that in ancient China, the first liquor created was Chinese Rice Wine, which originated from Prehistoric Times (1.7 million years ago - the 21st century BC). The ancient Chinese people have always had the habit of drinking rice wine, and they usually made it in the twelfth lunar month. They, especially peasants, took a drink themselves and treated guests with it. Chinese Rice Liquor is essential on worship ceremonies to Heaven, to Earth and to ancestors, or on celebrations of victories and harvests.

Further Reading
Top 10 Chinese Alcohol Brands

Chinese Yellow Wine (Huangjiu) - One of the Oldest Wines in the World  

Best Chinese Wines - Top 10 Brands for You to Choose

Chinese Snake Wine - the Mysterious Ancient Chinese Remedy

10 Most Popular Chinese Beers You Should Try

- Last updated on Sep. 10, 2019 -
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