11 May 2004
I want to add more Chinese study material to Sinosplice, and the latest is a vocabulary list. Of Western alcohol. You won’t find any form of baijiu on the list, but if you ever wanted to know how to say “Guinness” or “Jim Beam” or “Sex on the Beach” in Chinese, this is for you.
It’s noteworthy that many of these names do not have a standard name (especially mixed drinks), so many variations are possible, but the names in my list have all been verified through online sources and/or in actual Chinese bars.
Some of the ones I find interesting:
- Sex on the Beach. The literal Chinese is “sexy beach.” I guess a faithful translation would be too racy for printing on a menu in a Chinese bar?
- Absolut. In Chinese, it’s just “Swedish vodka.” Boooooring. The name in English is kinda cool.
- Cocktail. It’s literally “chicken tail alcohol.” Of all words to translate absolutely literally (which the Chinese don’t really do so often), why this one??
- Draught beer. It seems that in the south it’s more often called sheng pi (生啤), whereas the north prefers to call it zha pi (扎啤). Sheng pi means “raw beer.” (It also happens to be exactly the same thing the Japanese call it: 生ビール.) I really like that. “I’ll have a beer. Make it RAW.” Badass.
- Smirnoff. In Chinese it means “imperial crown.” Since the Chinese name sounds nothing like the actual name, I’m guessing that’s a translation of the Russian. Cool. Learning Russian through Chinese through booze. How scholarly. [Update: That guess was wrong. See comment #14.]