Soju

Andong-Soju
은은한 향기와 감칠맛 그리고 깨끗함

Origin & History

Soju

The distillation method of making liquor first entered Asia from the Persian Islamic culture,through Mongolia's Y an Dynasty. It was introduced to Korea when Kublai, grandson of Ghenghis Khan, advanced into the Korean peninsula on his expedition to take Japan. Evidence for this is the Arabic word for soju: "arag." Soju is called "arangju" in Korea's Pyongan Province, and "aragju" in the city of Kaes ng.

The manufacturing process for soju was passed on from the Mongol garrison in Kaes ng and advance bases in Andong and Cheju Island. Soju has various names in Korea. It is called noju, "distilled liquor," for its distillation process, and hwaju, "fire liquor," for the fire that is used to distill it. It also known as hanju, kiju, etc. It was more popular in the Chos n period. We find many records of soju from that time. In the Danjongshillok, "The True Record of King Danjong," it is written that King Danjong became too weak to perform his royal duties after King Munjong and his ministers made him drink soju to recover his spirits.

They did not drink large amounts, but used small cups, because soju was drunken as medicine. Thus, a small cup is known as a "soju cup." At first, only the king and other nobles drank soju for non-medicinal reasons. Gradually, soju spread to the common people as they learned how to brew larger quantities in their homes. The modern method of manufacturing soju originated in Py ngyang in 1919, and spread to Inch n and Pusan. Originally, soju was made from conventional malted wheat (heukguksoju). Beginning in 1952, soju began to be made from cheaper imported molasses. The laborious, time-consuming method of distilling pure rice wine, with its unique bouquet, has vanished without a trace, after the government's 1965 food policy banned the use of grain in manufacturing alcohol. The current process of distilling soju has been diluted with the use of sweet potatoes, molasses, tapioca, etc.