Popular Traditional Liquors - Korea Tourism Organization

Makgeolli (Takju)
Makgeolli has the longest history among all of Korea’s traditional alcoholic beverages. It is made by mixing steamed glutinous rice or wheat with a fermentation starter culture named nuruk, and water. The mixture is left to ferment. This drink has a milky, opaque color and low alcohol content (6%-10%). Today, makgeollis with different aromas became highly popular.

Cheongju (Yakju)
Despite the production method is similar to makgeolli, cheongju is a clearer drink due to a diverse filtration process. Main ingredients are still rice, nuruk and water. After fermentation, the liquor is passed through strainer made out of bamboo leaves. Cheongju has been widely used in a variety of traditional rituals and rites of passage, as it is regarded as a sincere and well-prepared alcohol.

Soju, made by fermentation of rice and other grains, is accepted as the most popular liquor drink in Korea. Diluted soju, which is mass-produced by mixing water with spirits, are very common, though traditional method is rather different. The alcohol content may vary between 20%-45% depending of the type of soju.

Gwasilju is the generic Korean term for fruit-based liquor. The method of making gwasilju can be divided into two categories; one is made from naturally fermented fruits and the other by mixing fruits and sugars with alcohol, making for a more fragrant, fruity flavor. Bokbunja, Maesilju, and Meoruju are the most common gwasilju found in supermarkets and department stores.