Wines of the World: On Wednesday, December 7, the 92nd Street Y will hold a lecture and tasting of international wines, including wines from Korea.
Taste of Korea 2005: Munbaeju, Korea’s Wine Treasure: On Thursday, December 8, at the Korean Cultural Service, will be a tasting of Korea’s “important intangible cultural property number 86-ga,” munbaeju. Click Korea describes munbaeju as “a traditional liquor made of malted wheat, rice, and millet which originates in the Pyeongyang region of North Korea. It is famous for its fragrance[,] which is said to resemble the munbae rose, hence its name. The alcohol content is around 40%.” More entertaining is this blurb from the government website of the Jung-gu district of Seoul:
This is the alcoholic emitting the perfume of fruit of Munbae tree(similar to pear). April or May is the proper time to make it and it takes approximately 4 months to mature. The characteristic of Munbaeju is to make the fragrance of fruit be emitted without using Munbae fruts at all. There are two ways of making; one is to use yeast and the other is to use white chrysanthemum. The color is light yellowish brown and it is a kind of Soju with 40 degree of alcoholic ingredient. At present, a person who possess the skill to make it is Lee, Gichun, who received the brewing skill continued to his farther from his grandmother.
Sic, which is probably how you’ll feel if you get drunk on the stuff. As for “the alcoholic emitting the perfume of fruit of Munbae tree,” that would’ve been an improvement over the alcoholics emitting the perfume of soju, kimchi and cigarettes, a heady bouquet often found on the Seoul subways early Sunday morning, as stuporous salarymen made their way home after a night spent sleeping it off at the bathhouse.
Hey, you think the Jung-gu government is hiring English editors?