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Sam Hea Ju - Introduction

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Sam Hea Ju


Sam Hea Ju 1- Juk Method

Sam Hea Ju 2 - Easy Juk Method

Sam Hea Ju 3 - Rice Donut Method 1

Sam Hea Ju 4 - Rice Donut Method 2

Happy Lunar New Year! This being the year of the pig it is an excellent time to introduce you to some Sam Hae Ju recipes. When broken down “Sam Hea Ju” means three pig drink. This alcohol is typically made at the start of the new Lunar New Year. Those unfamiliar with the lunar calendar might not know that the 12 animals that signify each year are also assigned to the days of the year as well. A Sam Hae Ju is a three step fermentation process, samyangju, where the mitsool is started on the first pig day of the year, the dotsool 1 is made on the second pig day of the year, and the dotsool 2 is made on the third pig day of the year. This year the first pig day is Feb 7th, the second is Feb 19th, and the third is Mar 3rd.

This brew is made at the beginning of the new lunar year and is made to wish your family good health and happiness for the new year. In contrast, a similar recipe Sam Oh Ju, also a samyangju, is brewed on every horse (oh) day and is made to give you strength and health in the new year (I’ll put up those recipes later).

The first three pig days in 2019. Starting with Feb 7th.

In the Eumshik Dimibang there are four different Sam Hea Ju recipes and to be honest there are many more. The special thing about these recipes is that they have a long rest period between each step. Typically, if you are making a samyangju you will wait 3-5 days between each step but because you have to wait a full 12 days between each step you have to make changes in the recipes to ensure that you won’t get an alcohol that is spoiled or overly sour.

Last year, I was a little too ambitious and tried to use a sam hae ju recipe that is nicknamed one-year brew (il nyeon ju) because supposedly after the initial three fermentation steps if you drink about 70% of it you can keep adding to it and this way it could last about a year. This is a tough recipe because it uses one of the more… arduous rice processing techniques, the geumongduk, or rice donut (this process is well known for making the famous ihwaju or alcoholic rice yogurt). This is difficult to get right because the process to make these rice donuts is long and when you mix the cooked donuts they turn into a very very thick and sticky paste that is very hard and slow to mix. It will leave your arms and hands sore the next day. This recipe uses this technique for two steps in the process so it was a very hard task. Unfortunately, my brew spoiled and was unusable. So this year I might use another one of the four recipes from the book.

I hope you try one of these recipes and wish you the best in the new year!

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