Types of Huangjiu
Chinese people enjoy wide range of liquors, among which Huangjiu (literally meaning yellow wine) is a most favorite one. Most Huangjiu are produced in limited amount, thus making it precious in quality, and some of them have certain medical functions.
Mijiu (米酒; pinyin: mǐjiǔ)
Mijiu is the generic name for Chinese fermented rice wine, similar to Japanese sake. It is generally clear, and is used for both drinking and cooking. Mijiu intended for cooking often contains 1.5% salt. Alcohol content by volume: 12-19.5%.
Fujian glutinous rice wine (福建糯米酒; pinyin: Fújiàn nuòmǐ jiǔ)
Fujian glutinous rice wine made by adding a long list of expensive Chinese medicinal herbs to glutinous rice and a low alcohol distilled rice wine. The unique brewing technique uses another wine as raw material, instead of starting with water. The wine has an orange-red color. Alcohol content by volume: 18%.
Huadiao jiu (花雕酒; pinyin: huādiāo jiǔ; lit. "flowery carving wine")
Huadiao jiu also known as nu'er hong (女儿红; pinyin: nǚ'ér hóng, lit. "daughter red"): a variety of huangjiu that originates from Shaoxing, in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang. It is made of glutinous rice and wheat. This wine evolved from the Shaoxing tradition of burying nu'er hong underground when a daughter was born, and digging it up for the wedding banquet when the daughter was to be married. The containers would be decorated with bright colors as a wedding gift. To make the gift more appealing, people began to use pottery with flowery carvings and patterns.
Shaoxing wine (绍兴酒 or 紹興酒; pinyin: Shàoxīng jiǔ)
Shaoxing wine is the more internationally known high grade version. It is commonly used in Chinese cooking as well as for drinking. The reddish color of these wines is imparted by red yeast rice. One prominent producer of Shaoxing wine is Zhejiang Gu Yue Long Shan Shaoxing Wine Co., Ltd. (古越龍山) of Shaoxing, Zhejiang. It is not uncommon for some varieties of Shaoxing wine to be aged for 50 years or more.
Hong lu jiu (红露酒 or 紅露酒; pinyin: hóng lù jiǔ; lit. "red wine")
Hong lu jiu are basically made of the same wine except they are of lower grade than Shaoxing wine. It is named differently depending on the age, the container, and how they are used.
Liaojiu (料酒; pinyin: liàojiǔ; lit. "ingredient wine")
Liaojiu is a lower grade of huangjiu widely used in Chinese cuisine as a cooking wine. Often it is sold with various seasonings added, such as cloves, star anise, cassia, black cardamom, Sichuan pepper, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.