Oppa Choi shakes the bee soju

This week was one awesome experience after another and oppa wouldn't have it any other way.  The other night he took us out to dinner for sogogi, again.  Afterwards he invited us to his office, which is located in downtown Yecheon.  When we walked through the door there were shelves lining one wall completely filled with an assortment of glass vessels.  Each jar held some sort of root, plant, or insect that was fermenting in liquid.  They looked like a botanist's version of a science lab you'd see in a 1950's movie (picture animals in embalming fluid) LOL.

다방주 (Horse Bee Soju)

As soon as we arrived his employees cleared the table and a 다방 (dabang) girl showed up and served us coffee.  After she left he pulled out one of the large vessels, proceeded to shake it lightly, and then placed it on the table.  Inside hundreds of bees were swirling around in a vortex of soju.   The bees, called (horse bees), were collected by oppa personally and then added to the soju so their venom could meld with the alcohol.  The taste... reminds me of whiskey.  It burns low and has a dry earthy taste.

Next up was the fire ant soju (불개미주).  Once again oppa explained that he caught the ants himself up in the mountains.  Apparently making these exotic alcohols is one of his hobbies (the other primary hobby being hunting with his Argentino Greyhounds in the mountains at night).  He gently shook the container and then placed it on the table before us.  Inside, what seemed like thousands of fingernail sized ants spun round and around in the clear soju.  Oppa waited patiently until the last ant had fallen slowly to rest at the bottom before opening it up and serving us a glass.  Unlike the horse bee soju, the fire ant soju had a pleasant floral taste and instead of hitting you low in the gut you could feel the warmth and power of the alcohol in your face and around your sinuses. 

In addition to these drinks, oppa gave us glasses of Mistletoe infused soju (겨우살이주) (Lee's Video),  some sort of mushroom infused whiskey (Lee's Video), Wilfordi Root soju (호주오주) (Lee's Video), Flower Blossom soju - a mushroom often seen in Chinese cuisine (꽃송이주) (Lee's Video), and another medicinal root soju called Jandae (잔대주) (Lee's Video).

Jandae Root Soju

Mistletoe Soju

While we were enjoying the various liquors oppa served us some sweet snacks made with puffed brown rice, corn, and peanuts (he also made).  To be honest, I'm glad he did, because a little of ANY of that goes a LONG way! ;P  He also called the coffee service and had the little coffee girl serve us another round, which definitely helped!  So, here's to another experience in South Korea.... 건배!