July and August in Korea is monsoon season, which means unbearable humidity, rain and more rain. This summer has been exceptionally wet, I'm talking about rain almost everyday. When it rains there isn't much activity going on outside and you often find yourself staying inside your apartment bored and restless. If you are visiting Seoul or just looking for a difference experience in the city then take a trip to The Sool Gallery.
Sool (술) is the word for beverages that consist of 1% or more alcohol in Korea. Drinking is a large part of the Korean culture and is done amongst friends, colleagues, family, etc. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs supports the Sool Gallery in order to promote Traditional Korean liquors to tourists. Visiting this facility you can learn all about the process of making Korean liquors and the significance of the different types.
Once you arrive you will be greeted by Jinsoo, or another Korean Sommelier who is exceptionally educated in the history and process of Korean liquors. In Korea liquor is filtered into four categories; Takju, Yakju, Soju and Gwasilju.
Takju is another name for makgeolli which is made from rice or wheat mixed with nuruk (frementation starter). Takju is cloudy in colour and can come in different flavours. Recently, takju has become more popular with the younger generation and more bars are opening with takju as their specialty.
Below is the process of creating Yakju by letting the makgeolli mature. These pots are used to separate the clear liquid from the grain that sits at the bottom through various fermentation stages.
Soju is the most well known Korean liquor. It can be found around the world and has various alcohol content and now flavours. Soju is distilled liquor that usually comes from yakju and often the drink of choice for most Koreans and expats as it is very cheap. The one I tried on this tour was 40% alcohol content. I am not really into soju because I hate the taste, so I normally drink the flavoured soju with a low alcohol content. This one was so strong you could smell if and you felt the burn if you exhaled through your nose!
Gwasilju (pictured below) is wine made with Korean fruits like persimmon or wild berries. This type of wine tastes similar to port wine, which is wine infused with brandy. This was my favourite liquor because it was strong but fruity and smelled delicious.
Below are the different types of Korean liquors I tried on my tour. The selection is always changing so if you want to go again you will get the chance to try different liquors. During the tour feel free to ask any questions to your guide and enjoy the complimentary alcohol. The tour lasts about 45 mins and after it is done you are free to wander about the gallery.
Check out the space in the video below!
Walk-ins are allowed at The Sool Gallery but do not include the tour or a complimentary tasting, for that you need to make a reservation. For reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, date and time: 2/4/7pm, number of people and your contact information.
Hours of operation: Tuesday to Sunday 10am- 8pm.
* Closed on Mondays
Address: 51-20, Teheran-ro 5-gil, Gangnam-gu
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