Traditional Korean Drinks – Liquor in Korea

Traditional Korean Drinks

Have you ever tried tradition Korean drinks? You might already know Makgeolli(Raw rice wine), but there are so much more than that. We will show you 3 different kinds of traditional drinks.

Yak-ju 약주

Yak-ju, commonly known as Cheong-ju, is a refined rice wine. In Korea, each region has different ways of brewing Cheong-ju. That is why there are so many kinds of it. They are agian devided into Gwaha-ju, So-gook-ju, Beob-ju, etc., according to the brewing method. Different regions put their local ingredients such as chrysanthemum, ginger, etc. into Yak-ju.

Gyodong Beob-ju (Gyeongju)

Gyodong Beob-ju is made of sweet rice which makes the sweet flavor of this Yak-ju. It is one of the most famous brand. 16% Alc.

Insam-ju (Geumsan)

Insam-ju is made of Ginseng and rice. Geumsan’s soil has the best conditions for growing Ginseng.  It takes about 100 days to brew the Insam-ju. 12.5% Alc.


Tak-ju (unrefined rice wine) 탁주

Tak-ju got its name because ‘tak’ means unclear in Korean. As you see in the picture, it has rather milk-like color. Drinks such as Makgeolli or Dongdong-ju are in this category. Tak-ju is the oldest type of alcoholic drinks in Korea. Many Koreans drink Makgeolli in their everyday life. Koreans tend to drink Makgeolli on a rainy day with specific ‘Anju'(pairing food that we eat with alcohol) such as Pajeon(green onion pancake). Especially, Makgeolli goes well with Jeon(Korean pancakes) or Bossam (Boiled pork).  In Korea, there are even Makgeolli masters who are designated either by central or local government. This article would introduce you to the world of unique Makgeolli brands rather than the( commercial ones.

Geumjungsansung Makgeolli (Busan)

This is the first traditional liquor chosen by the government. Except for the packaging process, this liquor follows the traditional ways of making Makgeolli. The history of Geumjungsansung Makgeolli goes back 500 years. It is well-known for its acidity which stays in your mouth for a long time. 8% Alc.

Daedaepo Makgeolli (Damyang)

Daedaepo Makgeollii has rather sweet flavor since it is made with honey from Jirisan mountain. Also, Damyang is famous for its bamboo groves, and bamboo leaves are in this Makgeolli.  6% Alc.


Ehwa-ju is quite special since its texture is different from any other Makgeollis. Usually, it’s in a jar and it looks like a thick yogurt. You can just eat it with a spoon or mix it with water to drink it like Makgeolli. It has rather sweet and light taste, and it goes well with fruits. 8% Alc.

Boksoondoga Son Makgeolli (Ul-ju)

Bokssondoga’s Makegeolli is 100% hadnmade. Therefore, the brewery only produces 200 bottles a day. It has refreshing taste since it is more bubbly than other Makgeollis. It also has more acidity than other Makgeollis. 6.5% Alc.


Jeung-ryu-ju (distilled liquor) 증류주

Traditionally, Soju was the word for distilled liquors. Traditional Soju is different from the commercial ones. This type of liquor has high percentage of alcohol compared to other Korean drinks. It has many other names. ‘Baek-ju’, since it has a white color, ‘No-ju’, since it is clear like dew, and ‘Hwa-ju’, since it was boiled.

Andong Soju (Andong)

When we think of traditional Soju, Andong Soju might be the first one that comes to mind. In the past, civilians used this liquor as a remedy for stomachache. It has a delicate flavor. 45% Alc.

Igang-ju (Jeonju)

This is one of the 3 most noted liquors in the Joseon Dynasty. Its main ingredients are rice, tumeric, honey, pear, cinnamon and ginger. Recommended Anju for Igang-ju is Bossam(boiled pork). 19/25/38% Alc.



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