A rice wine from Korea with medicinal herb ingredients. There are two varieties, Bekseju and KangJang Bekseju, the difference being that the latter is more expensive, and is supposed to contain more chinese medicinal ingredients. My husband and I were graciously given two bottles as a wedding gift from an ex-pat Canadian friend of ours who has been teaching English in Korea. I drank two half wine glasses full on New Years Eve, 2002/2003, and my husband just tasted a little. The flavour is very much like apple juice, but extra sweet and the aroma is very much like that of sake. There was also an aftertaste that reminded me of ginseng gum, a flavour that isn't too far from what I imagine dirt tastes like, which is not surprising as ginseng is probably one of the ingredients. Other ingredients, according to the Dong O Bo Gam are arrowroot, ginger and licorice.
Comes in an opaque, pear-shaped bottle with stylized korean characters down the front. Ours came in a wooden gift box with two bottles (one cream coloured and the other sort of pink-red) and two small porcelain cups printed with the same characters as on the label on the bottle. Extremely decorative, I would have kept the empty bottle for show, only the airport security people were so apprehensive about me taking it on an airplane that I threw it away to save them the worry.
What the Kook Soon Dang Brewery website has to say:
"The secret ingredients of this wine have the characteristics of medicine. Some of them are said to remove the malign factors in the body system, written in Dong O Bo Gam, which is the most credible traditional medical journal published in Korea (1613). Dong O Bo Gam also states, Wines used as medicine should be made by glutinous RICE and fine nuruk. BEKSEJU, which is made by the glutinous RICE and fine nuruk method, also adds oriental medicinal material in the brewing process. Although the exact amounts are confidential, KANGJANG BEKSEJU contains nearly one pouch of oriental medicine, making this wine important to people."
I couldn't say it better myself.
Resources: My own experience and