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gfron1

Acorn liquors

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For years I've tried to find one of two Korean acorn liquors in the US with no luck. One is called Yangdoksul and the other Totorisul. No luck googling for an online purchase so I'm guessing they just don't get imported. The reason I'm interested is that if I can find them I might be able to replicate, that, and I love cool obscure liquors. Anyone heard of either of these?

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Try "dotorisul" or "dotori sul". There are a couple of reviews on Japanese sites, but they are not very complimentary, and in all cases that I saw, the bottles were bought in PDRK itself.

Japan also makes acorn shochu in northern Kyushu and in Tottori, both places with strong historical links to Korea. The Kyushu brand is called "Nakoku no Utage", and the Tottori brand "Hakuho no Sato" - neither are that easy to buy even in Japan, it seems. In Japan, chestnut shochu e.g. Dabada Shochu is maybe better known than acorn shochu.

In Japan one of the favorite acorns for eating is "matebashii" (Lithocarpis edulis), and that's the one used for acorn shochu here. I imagine that it would be the favored type of acorn for Korean acorn soju too, but I don't know. Some types of Castanopsis (chinquapin) and a couple of varieities of Quercus (what we would think of as an actual oak!) are eaten here too - none of these are the same as the Spanish acorns used to make Bellota, either!

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Thank you for all those leads. Since there are good and bad acorns, my hope is that since the acorns in my area are delicious and edible right off the ground, that maybe I can create a tasty acorn liquor.

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An interesting read!

 

I have an enormous English oak (Quercus robor) not far from the house which yields acorns. I'd not thought of making a spirit with them. Do you think it will work? Willing to offer up some cheap vodka for the experiment :D. I've not heard of acorn spirits before.

 

(n.b. we can also access sweet chestnuts - Castanea sativa). Sounds like an interesting experiment! I made hazelnut spirit last year and it came out quite well.

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My debate was an acorn soak liquor v. distilling something from acorns. IDK which way to go with it.

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Rob, I'd be inclined to try something like the bay seed liqueur I've found very successful.

 

You'd probably need to dry the acorns and (if they're the size of the acorns I know) roughly chop them into quarters. After that you're on your own!

 

I'd go for high-stength alcohol if you can get it.  The strength of course drops when you sweeten the final product.  Instinctively I'd think acorns might be inherently a little sweeter than bay seeds so be cautious with your sugar syrup, but that's a complete guess.

 

Go forth and experiment, young man.

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In Japan, it's not legal to ferment alcoholic drinks at home, so people make the "soak in high-alcohol spirits" type of liqueur. All you strictly need is a flavoring agent and the liquor - adding sugar makes a mellower drink in a shorter span of time, but in my experience, you can avoid adding any sugar at all, if you want, and if you are prepared to wait several years for the flavors to mellow and blend. However, the lack of sweetness may make it hard to taste some of the flavors.

 Here's a handy digest of nut liqueur recipes which suggests that toasting and shelling (in whatever order) is common for liqueurs using ripe nuts. This recipe for chestnut liqueur is slightly different, but is probably quite relevant to acorns. The big question is, what aromatics would go will with acorns? I saw a chestnut recipe with bayleaf and cloves, another with aniseed...I think aniseed might be quite good with acorns. Orange peel? Apples?

 

Some Japanese guy went to a nut festival in Portugal and took photos of acorn liqueur. He didn't want to buy a whole bottle, so was unable to taste any of the nut liqueurs.

Since the Spanish acorn liqueur seems to involve germination, maybe some adventurous person would like to try malting acorns?! Germination reduces tannin levels as well as soaking. 

Japanese commentators say that acorns taste like a blander chestnut. I've eaten several types, toasted, but the flavor is not that memorable. If they were toasted more thoroughly to bring out the taste of the oils, they might have a stronger flavor. 

I know nothing about fermenting alcoholic drinks, but if there is enough amylase in acorns (or horse chestnuts or chinkapins etc) to make miso, presumably you can make beer or cider, especially if you start with only about 20% acorn. Certainly western homebrew forums talk about acorn beer. I found a miso recipe that suggested replacing 20% of the usual ingredients with acorn flour (peeled, cracked, cooked in a pressure cooker, dried, ground into flour). Normal cooking method for acorns here is to roast or dry-fry them, turning or shaking now and then, until the shells crack, then hull them and either eat or grind for other purposes.

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