History of Alcohol in Korea

I visited the Jeonju Korean Traditional Wine Museum in Jeonju. The museum rests in the Jeonju Hanok Village and offers visitors the unique chance to explore the world of traditional Korean liquor and engage in related hands-on experience programs. At the museum, visitors can see the tools and machines used in the making of alcohol and get a closer look at the different types of traditional wine in Korea. Some of the most interesting displays at the museum are the alcohol preparation room and the fermentation room. Thanks to speakers located in these two rooms, visitors are able to hear the amplified sounds of the fermentation process. The signs were mostly in Korean with some displays have English translation, but I still got to learn a good amount from the translation and my own Korean reading ability.

The modern word for alcohol 술 is actually derived from 수불 meaning “water fire,” (수 water, 불 fire), which eventually shortened to as we now say, 술.

수불 to 술.
수불 to 술.

Here are the historical steps to making alcohol in Korea:

  1. Calm down feelings
    Perform ablutions and calm down feelings before making wine.
  2. Treading malted flour paste into cakes
    Grind the wheat or other grains in millstone.
    Mix flour with water in an earthenware tub, knead it.
    Spread a loose fabric wrapper on a mold, then pat the mixture in the mold and tread it hard. Tread it with heels for full force.
  3. Washing rice
    Wash rice clean to prevent from breaking.
  4. Cooking hard-boiled rice
    Put rice in a rice-cake steamer and cook hard-steamed rice.
  5. Pounding malted flour cakes
    Break malted flour cakes to bits.
  6. Kneading
    Mix hard-boiled rice malted flour cakes with water well in an earthenware tub.
  7. Fermentation and maturation
    Put the mixture in a liquor jar and forbid other people to enter there and ferment the wine with devotion.
  8. Straining wine
    Cheongju: refined rice wine, dipped out of rice wine strainers set in liquor jars, after wine being matured.
    Takju: Cream-colored thick wine strained admixture of malt and steamed rice through strainers.
    Makgeolli: Cream-colored wine added water to strained Takju.
  9. Distilling Soju
    High-proof distilled liquor from Cheongju and Takju with Sojutgori (distiller).
  10. Transportation
    Use wooden or earthenware containers for keeping and transporting wine.
    Wine was transported by oxcarts, carriages, donkeys, and handcarts.

Here are more photos that I can’t explain from the museum, check me out in the last photo wearing a hanbok, hahaha.

Traditional Wine Museum Address: 74, Hanji-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeollabuk-do / 전북 전주시 완산구 한지길 74
Hours: 9:00-18:00, closed Monday
Entrance Fee: Free
Traditional Wine Museum Website

Love what you see? Any questions? Comments? Anything to add? Comment below! Email me at MMatthewMZaqD@gmail.com & follow me on Instagram & Twitter at Matthewzaq!

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