Gyeongju Gyodong Beopju
This is an alcoholic drink brewed for generations by the Choi family clan in Gyo-dong, Gyeongju. Yeong-sin Bae is a master distiller and was designated as Intangible Cultural Asset No. 86-3 in 1986. Her son has inherited her skills and continues to distill beopju even today. Its alcohol content is about 16 percent, and has a clear, faint yellow color to it. Due to the nature of alcoholic beverages brewed from grains, it is naturally sweet and boasts a rich smell. Originally, it had a higher alcohol content, but the recipe was changed in 1990 to lower it by 15 percent so that it could be enjoyed by more people. The base wine is brewed and then matured through a second fermentation process. The complete process takes roughly 100 days. Beopju made available for sale is usually over one year old.Details
• Price: 32,000~35,000 won
• Tel: +82-64-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese) +82-54-772-5994 (Korean)
• How to buy: You can either go to Choi’s house or place an order by phone. If you order by phone and send money, a porcelain bottle encased in a wooden box will be delivered. If you go to Choi’s house in person, you can buy a bottle packed in a paper box for a lower price. Choi’s house is about 10 minutes away by taxi from Gyeongju Station or the bus terminal. At the entrance is a sign with the Chinese characters “校洞法酒 (Gyodong Beopju).”
Leegangju is one of the finest liquors from Jeolla-do and Hwanghae-do provinces and has been produced since the mid-Joseon Dynasty. When King Gojong of Joseon signed a trade treaty with the U.S., Leegangju was recorded as being liquor that both signifies and represents the country well. Jeonju Leegangju is famous for its high quality curcuma tuber, a key ingredient in brewing the liquor grown in Jeonju. Jeonju Leegangju is made by adding pears, ginger, cinnamon, and honey to home-made soju brewed from rice, and letting it age for a long time. The name “Leegangju” originated from its ingredients, pears (“lee”) and ginger (“gang”). The liquor is light yellow and has a pungent smell and clean taste. Its alcohol content ranges from 22~25 percent. Being a medicinal soju, it does not cause headaches from hangovers.Details
• Price: 16,000~220,000 won
• Tel: +82-63-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese) +82-63-212-5765 (Korean)
• Website: leegangju.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
• How to buy: available at department stores and large discount stores. It can also be ordered through a catalogue available at post offices in Korea.
Andong soju is traditional liquor; a distilled soju, handed down by a renowned family in the Andong area. On May 13, 1987, the liquor was designated as Gyeongsangbuk-do Intangible Cultural Property No. 12. The current master distiller is Ok-hwa Cho in Andong. Andong soju became popular during the Goryeo Dynasty and was the liquor of choice for entertaining guests and treating health problems. The liquor is made of five different grains, including rice and barley, that are steamed and blended with malted wheat. This mixture is fermented for a week and then distilled in a pot for an entire day. The alcohol content of Andong soju is relatively high at 45 percent. It was traditionally used as a folk remedy. It was taken orally to cure stomachaches or applied to insect bites.Details
• Price 20,000~50,000 won
• Tel: +82-54-1330 (Korean. English, Japanese, Chinese)
• Website: andongsoju.co.kr (Korean. English, Japanese, Chinese)
• How to buy: You need to go to the Andong soju distillery or the Andong Soju Museum, where you can enjoy both sightseeing and shopping. It is offered at a 20% discount there. The taxi ride from Andong Station or the bus terminal takes about ten minutes. You can also buy Andong soju at AK Duty Free Shop at Incheon International Airport and the KTO Duty Free Shop.
Munbaeju is traditional liquor that has been made for generations in Pyeongan-do. It was designated as Intangible Cultural Property No. 86 in 1986. It is believed to have been brewed for the first time in Pyeongyang, but no details have been recorded. During the Goryeo Dynasty, munbaeju was presented to King Wanggeon. It was also used to make a toast at the South-North Korean Summit in 2000. Munbaeju is distilled liquor made of wheat, hulled millet, and African millet. Its name is derived from its aroma: it smells like the fruit of the munbae tree (a type of pear tree). It is yellowish-brown and its alcohol content is over 40 percent. However, unlike other distilled liquor, it goes down very smoothly. Ki-choon Lee, designated as a Human Cultural Property, is the current and a 4th generation master distiller.Details
• Price: 30,000~100,00 won
• Tel: +82-31-989-9333 (Korean) +82-31-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
• Website: moonbaesool.co.kr (Korean)
• How to buy: Easily available at department stores and large supermarkets. Also available at AK Duty Free Shop at Incheon International Airport and KTO Duty Free Shop.
Hansan Sogokju is traditional liquor from Hansan-myeon, Seocheon-gun, Chungcheongnam-do. It is designated as Chungnam Intangible Cultural Property No. 3. It was enjoyed by the royal court of the Baekjae Dynasty 1,500 years ago. Hansan Sogokju is dubbed the “cripple’s liquor” because it has such a wonderful flavor and aroma that you will not be able to stop drinking it and leave the table. It has a sweet flavor and scent, and is pale yellow. Wild chrysanthemum gives Hansan Sogokju its unique, savory fragrance. The liquor can be enjoyed by almost everyone because its alcohol content is only 18 percent. Sogokju is also used for medicinal purposes because it purifies the blood and expands the peripheral blood vessels.Details
• Price 10,000~140,000 won
• Tel: +82-31-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese) +82-41-951-0290(Korean)
• Website: sogokju.co.kr (Korean)
How to buy: Available at Nonghyup Hanaro Mart, Lotte Mart, and duty free shops at Incheon International Airport and KTO.
Bokbunjaju is a Korean wine made by fermenting bokbunja (wild mountain raspberry). It has traditionally been made in a village near Seonunsa Temple in the Gochang, Jeonbuk region for 1,400 years. It is very sweet, like fruit juice, so it is popular among both men and women. Bokbunjaju is also well known for its interesting name, which refers to an old legend. Centuries ago, a couple with a sick child was approached by a Buddhist monk who suggested that the child be given raspberry wine (Bokbunjaju), which made the child healthy again. In Chinese, bokbunja is written as “覆盆子,” which means that the fruit makes a man so energetic that the chamber pot will almost turn over when he urinates. As suggested by these legends, Bokbunjaju has strong anti-cancer and anti-aging effects and is effective in preventing arterial sclerosis and thrombosis. It is also known to help improve vision and memory.Details
• Price: 20,000~50,000 won
• Tel: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
• How to buy: Readily available at department stores and large supermarkets. Also available at stores around Seonunsa Temple in Gochang.