In spring, pink azaleas bloom across the country. Azaleas hold a special place in the hearts of the Korean people. Also called the dugyeonhwa flower, azaleas are used to make hwajeon , or flower pancakes, and can even be used to make a delicious alcoholic drink.
Among liquor fans, the variety of dugyeonju grown in Myeongcheon in Chungcheongnam-do Province is known for its beautiful fragrance.
To make Myeoncheon Dugyeonju, dried azalea petals are mixed with sticky rice and malt, all of which are then mixed with water and fermented at low temperature. Myeoncheon Dugyeonju is traditionally made from azaleas collected from Amisan Mountain and using the clean water from Ansaem under Amisan Mountain itself. The drink takes more than 100 days to create a batch.
Myeoncheon Dugyeonju is deep yellow in color and feels sweet and sticky. It contains 18 percent alcohol, which is relatively high compared to other traditional spirits, but it’s so soft to drink that people always want a different glass. For this reason, spirits lovers say: “Five glasses of Dugyeonju each run less than 5 li” and praise its taste.