is a Korean
traditional distilled liquor produced in South Korea
and is considered to be one of the finest Korean spirits. Its name consists of the two words; munbae
), which means "wild pear
" (Pyrus ussuriensis var. seoulensis
), and ju
), meaning "alcohol". It is given this name because the wine has a fruity scent of the wild pear, although no pear is used in its production.
Ingredients and production
is brewed from wheat
, hulled millet
, Indian millet
, and a fermentation starter
(nuruk; 누룩), then distilled.
Although it is South Korea's "Important Intangible Cultural Property Number 86-1
", it originated from North Korea's Pyeongyang
. Its origins are traced to the Goryeo Dynasty
. The water used to produce Munbaeju comes form the Taedong River
. A royal subject of Wang Geon
presented him with home-brewed munbaeju, which his family had made with a secret recipe for generations. Wang Geon was so impressed with its taste, that he gave the subject a high-ranking position in the government. Ever since this event, Munbaeju was a wine drunk by kings, and is commonly served to important foreign dignitaries during welcoming receptions.