酒 (jiǔ) is the Chinese character referring to any beverage containing appreciable quantities of ethanol.
Chinese alcohol predates recorded history. Dried residue extracted from 9,000-year-old pottery shows that early beers were already being consumed by the Neolithic peoples in the area of modern China. Made from rice, honey, grapes, and hawthorn, it seems to have been produced similarly to that of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Here are some of the most common alcoholic beverages consumed in Hainan today.
Areca Nut Liquor (槟榔酒 Binglang Jiu)
This Li Minority specialty liquor is brewed using areca nuts, Shanlan glutinous rice, ginseng, high-quality mineral water, Chinese medicinal herbs and other ingredients. It has a rich and mellow flavor and a fragrant smell. The spirit is claimed to act as a brain tonic, kill tapeworms, increase male energy（Yang 阳）an unclog tonic or as a simple workaday refreshment. It has a relatively low alcohol content. Areca Nut Liquor is reputed not to cause hangovers the following day.
Seahorse Liquor (海马酒 Haima Jiu)
Seahorse Liquor is made by marinating crushed sea horses and herbs in baijiu for ten days or more. This process gives the liquor a unique, mellow flavor with a hint of the sea. Amongst the multiple health benefits attributed to sea horse liquor are its ability to cure impotence and bed wetting, assist with difficulties in childbirth and unblock the intestines.
Coconut Liquor (椰子酒 Yezi Jiu)
A twice-fermented alcoholic beverage, this drink is made using coconut flesh, glutinous rice, brewers yeast and water. It has a distinctive coconut taste and is said to be good for one’s overall health. Due to its high amino acid content, claims are made that this liquor reduces fatigue and boosts immunity.
Connoisseurs say that the long-term fermentation process the Coconut Liquor undergoes brings out the flavor of the coconut to perfection. Some brands of this spirit are sold in bottles encased in a polished coconut husk and make for a nifty souvenir of the island.
Deer Antler Liquor (鹿茸酒 Lurong Jiu)
This liquor is made from the antlers of young deer blended together with baijiu and Chinese medicinal herbs. Other parts of the deer are also sometimes used and are said to be good for the spleen and kidneys.
Coffee Liquor (咖啡酒 Kafei Jiu)
Distilled using fermented pulp from locally-grown coffee beans, this spirit is translucent brown in colour and has a mild and a rich fragrance. It can be used in cooking as a condiment or mixed with warm milk and drunk as tasty refreshment.