Ginseng wine is a type of alcoholic beverage made from the roots of the plant that bears its name. The root is often used in traditional Korean and Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments, but it also has a long history as an ingredient in wines. Ginseng wine can be found at specialty liquor stores but it’s rare.
In this article we’ll show you how to make this potent drink at home and go over some of the benefits and reasons to make it.
How to Make Ginseng Wine
The first step to making ginseng wine, or traditional Korean Insam-ju, is to provide yourself plenty of time because some preparations are fermented for anywhere from 5-20 years. Outside of this, consider the following directions:
- Choose the choicest of Korean ginseng roots and clean them
- Place the roots into purified water with a whisky base
- Jar the ginseng mixture in a clean glass bottle
- Apply the starter, such as a form of additional whisky or a Korean liquor
- Shake the jar
- Add additional pieces of ginseng root as desired
- Cap the jar
- Use any leftover roots for a series of other bottles, but make sure you’re still using clean glassware
- Place them into an area that doesn’t receive extreme temperatures or light
- Treat the solution the same way you would any other fermenting beverage, which means avoidance of excessive amounts of humidity or dryness
- Provide ample time for the infusion to occur, which can last as long as fermenting
- Ensure that nothing reacts with the mixture as it ferments
- Check your bottles periodically
- Allow some preparations to infuse longer than others
- Only break the seal and serve when the color appears a golden yellow
What is Ginseng Wine?
Insam-ju is an alcoholic drink that’s considered a specialty among many Korean connoisseurs. It’s essentially another form of liquor that’s been infused with ginseng roots, though there are also recipes that call for a complete fermentation of ginseng.
Depending on how strong one likes the ginseng taste and whether or not they want to make it from scratch, it can theoretically take quite a long time to make.
What are the Benefits of Ginseng Wine?
Like all forms of alcohol, ginseng wine is known to thin the blood to a degree, but it also hangs on to some of the other health benefits of ginseng. Since it has a taste that’s rather unlike most other types of liquor, ginseng wine might also have culinary benefits as it can be pared with a large number of savory dishes or enjoyed by itself.
What are the Cons of Ginseng Wine?
In spite of the name, ginseng wine is actually closer to a form of hard liquor and therefore comes with all of the drawbacks that you’d expect from any alcoholic beverage. You can get drunk off of it and drinking way too much of it can cause liver damage.
Drinking any sort of alcohol can also slur your speech and impair your judgement, so you don’t want to consume it when you’re driving.
Is there Alcohol in Ginseng?
Alcohol wouldn’t normally be found in ginseng roots, though some prepared tinctures of panax ginseng might contain alcohol as a base. These are essentially more of a form of medicine that contains other ingredients as well rather than ginseng itself.
You couldn’t get drunk off of simply eating a piece of ginseng root, though it’s possible to actually ferment one into a drink. Most forms of Insam-ju will use a different form of alcohol as well as other culinary ingredients as a starter, though you could make it entirely from ginseng if you had the time to do so.
Can Ginseng Wine be Taken at Night?
While you could theoretically take ginseng wine at any point in the day, many people prefer to drink it only at night. You’ve probably heard people express the opinion that it’s too early to drink before the afternoon, and there’s a good reason for this.
Individuals who have a tendency to drink when they first get up in the morning might have some sort of psychological dependency. Since ginseng wine is simply another form of alcohol, there’s a chance you could become as dependent on it as you could brandy or scotch.
That’s probably why so many prefer to have it as an evening treat.
Is Ginseng Good for Hangovers?
Ginseng, in its pure root form or when taken as a dietary supplement, might actually be helpful when dealing with a hangover. However, you don’t want to drink ginseng wine in the morning while you’re struggling with a hangover because you’ll be consuming more alcohol.
Naturally, it’s best to avoid developing a hangover in the first place. That being said, ginseng as a spice or a food product during the morning might be a good way to help restore some natural blood flow, especially when accompanied with plenty of time to clear up in comfortable surroundings that help you relax.
Does Ginseng Wine Work Like Viagra?
Since ginseng roots can improve blood flow, it makes some sense that it would work sort of like an aphrodisiac. However, Viagra is only a blood pressure control that doesn’t have any sedative effect.
The alcohol in ginseng wine is a depressant drug, so it can actually make a person more relaxed. Like any alcohol, it could theoretically have the exact opposite of Viagra depending on how much you drink of it.
When used modestly, it could potentially help improve performance, but then again theoretically so could ginseng taken in almost any other form too.
Does Ginseng Wine Make You Last Longer in Bed?
Due to the properties of ginseng, some people believe that it could make you last longer in bed, but drinking too much ginseng wine could just make you pass out before anything happens. On the other hand, stress is a major cause of poor sexual performance, and ginseng wine in small doses could help you to become relaxed.
In this case, it’s normally used socially in reasonably sized glasses. You’d want to treat it like any other type of alcohol that you might consume in an intimate situation in order to balance out the two different aspects of it.