KOREAN NAME: 소백산 생동동주
REVIEW: Takjoo Journals recently started a new series of posts with the aim of explaining different types of fermented beverages that bear a relationship to makgeolli. The first in the series is on Dongdongju, which you can read about here.
So, you might be wondering how Sobaeksan Saeng Dongdongju fits with this description? For starters, I bought my bottle at a rest stop at the foot of Sobaek Mountain—right in front of Guinsa Temple (구인사), I might add! And, even though I looked for a smaller bottle, my only option was 1700 ml, take it or leave it. Higher percentage than regular makgeolli? Check. This dongdongju is 10% ABV. The most pressing discrepancy is the look. Unlike the chalky white coloring dongdongju shares with makgeolli, Sobaeksan Dongdongju is an opaque brown. It reminds me, oddly enough, of Snapple’s lemon iced tea. Furthermore, there is no “floating rice” to be found in the liquor.
The taste is completely different from makgeolli and your average dongdongju too. The first sip is flat and sour, and then the pine needles really come to the forefront. The aftertaste is a subtle medicinal smolder tinged, unfortunately, with aspartame. Of course, even if it didn’t have any artificial sweeteners, I’d be reluctant to recommend Sobaeksan Dongdongju, except as a weird novelty—or a 1700 ml dare. It’s just a flavor that wears on you very quickly.
Smell: Sour, like lemons starting to go bad, with a faint pine needle note.
BREWERY: Daegang Yangjojang (대강양조장)
ORIGIN: Chungcheong-do, Danyang-gun, Degang-myeon (충청도, 단양군, 대강면)
PURCHASED: Chungcheongbuk-do, Danyang-gun, Yeongchun-myeon (충청북도, 단양군, 영춘면)
AVAILABILITY: While Sobaeksan Saeng Makgeolli can be found at many joomaks, this is the first time I’ve encountered Sobaeksan Dongdongju. It might be necessary to go to Danyang-gun in Chungcheong-do to pick it up. A 1700 ml bottle costs ₩5,000.
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 10%
INGREDIENTS: Korean rice (100%), pine needles, nuruk, jujube, Korean angelica, aspartame (.0009%)
VOLUME: 1700 ml
PASTEURIZED: No (30-day shelf life)