The newly distilled spirit was still warm when it was bottled.
A combination of exotic Chinese artefacts and fake fibreglass props may leave you somewhat perplexed. But hey, that's China in a nutshell, isn't it?
Perhaps you just want to pour yourself a something to drink - luckily, that fits in here too.
The story plays out in Zhenbeibu China West Film Studio, a 600-year-old fortification that has recently been used as a movie set. Nowadays, the place is a popular tourist destination in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
On the set where Zhang Yimou's debut film Red Sorghum was shot, there is a distillery. Better yet, an operative one! Just 12 paces from the distillery, there is a bar. This bar definitely sells spirits that don't get any fresher.
The place to obviously begin is with the making of these spirits. The still is a wooden barrel seated on top of a stone furnace. Below the barrel, a fire burns to evaporate the alcohol from the fermented liquid. Admiring the beauty of the process, Radio86's reporters were able to get the Master Distiller to explain the process.
“First, we must choose the grain and then begin soaking them. After soaking is complete, we must boil the grain until it becomes soft, turning it to a mush. We then steam it until the excess water evaporates. Next, we dry it under the sun,” the Master Distiller explained.
On the floor, an amount of soaked corn is laid out to dry, adding a genuine vibe to the atmosphere. “Once it is dry, we add distiller's yeast and place it into a fermentation pool for about one month. The next step is to return it to the steaming machine. Finally, the rice liqueur appears.”
“This is how it is made,” said the Master Distiller matter-of-factly. It's as simple as that.
After having seen the creation of this clear, pure liquid, the final job, as a reporter, is to taste it. A cupful of this spirit costs five yuan at the conveniently adjacent bar. And yes, it is actually pretty good.
A unique experience is quite cheap
Wine being bottled. Soon it is for sale or maybe even already sold.
The soaked grains are drying on the floor. Don't step on them!