from left, guotai baijiu, ocho cientos sotol, sunora bacanora, ohishi whisky and fos greek masthia photo by jonathan gayman

5 international liquors to lift your spirits

Tired of imbibing the usual subjects? Try these under-the-radar international tipples to expand your palate and your horizons.

1. Guotai Premium Lite Baijiu
Baijiu is a Chinese spirit traditionally distilled from sorghum and wheat. This malty, vegetal bottle takes the edge off baijiu’s funk for the Western palate and keeps the alcohol much lower than the traditional version.
$22. Available at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton

2. Ocho Cientos Sotol Blanco
Unlike agave-based tequila and mezcal, this Mexican spirit is distilled from the sotol plant. Ocho Cientos’ unaged expression is a little grassy with a hint of sweetness; it also comes in reposado and añejo versions.
$43. Available at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton

3. Sunora Bacanora
Distilled in Mexico’s Sonora region from the agave Pacifica plant, this unaged spirit has a subtle sweetness and distinctive maltiness that separates it from its cousins, tequila and mezcal.
$44. Available at Lukas Wine & Spirits

4. Ohishi Single Sherry Cask Whisky
Sherry comes through in the light amber color and the nutty, figgy nose and palate of this Japanese rice whisky aged in sherry casks.
$63. Available at The Wine Merchant in Clayton

5. FOS Greek Mastiha
This Greek liqueur is distilled from the sap of the mastic tree, found on the island of Chios. The unusual spirit is sweet, herbal and vegetal with a hint of citrus.
$33. Available at The Wine Merchant in Clayton

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.