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Koreans have their Soju, the Japanese their Sake and the Chinese have their Baijiu. If you’ve never drank or even heard of the latter, you’re not alone and may be shocked to find that it’s actually the most sold drink in the world. Primarily consumed by older generations, Baijiu is starting to make its way beyond the boardrooms and drawing rooms of China to the western world.

 Capital Spirits claims the distinction of being the world’s first bar dedicated to Baijiu and other hard to find craft liquors. They act as Baijiu historians and educators determined to introduce a new generation to the national drink. And it’s not an easy task given Baijiu’s love it or hate it reputation. Baijiu’s alcohol proof ranges from 40% on the low end to 100% or more – enough to slay seasoned drinkers – so the serving vessel of choice is a petite shot glass.

But if anyone’s going to get Baijiu newbies to learn to love its fire, it’s Capital Spirits. Its Baijiu cocktails are produced by an award winning bartender/mixologist and the timid are invited to sample small sips of baijiu as part of a tasting flight to ease into the practice. Highlights include a snake-infused version from Guangdong, a drink that may serve as more of a bragging point than a repeat order. For the less adventurous, the bar also offers several Baijiu-based cocktails, including a Baijiu sour and a Crab Island Iced Tea, as well as craft liquor and beer.

Even if you’re not convinced that Baijiu’s your drink, Capital Spirits is still worth a visit for its lively, convivial atmosphere and friendly service. And who knows, with its high alcohol concentration, you just may end up wearing Baijiu goggles and falling in love during this indigenous experience