Sujeonggwa (수정과) or Korean Cinnamon Punch is a dessert drink that can be served hot or cold and uses one of Korea’s favorite fruits, and definitely the most popular seasonal fruit of Autumn, persimmons!
This festive drink is served around the holidays but can also be a delicious anytime drink; it helps with digestion (it’s often served after Korean BBQ for that reason) and can be found in canned form whenever you need a cinnamon-y pick me up.
It’s made mainly from slowly boiling cinnamon and ginger, then they’re removed to add in brown sugar or honey, combining to give it its deep rich color. Dried persimmons are cut and added in to soak, absorbing the liquid and sometimes changing the color as it cools. It is frequently finished off with some pine nuts on top! I haven’t tried my hand at a Korean drink, and this one I wouldn’t be able to (I’m allergic to cinnamon and this is literally a cinnamon drink) but just like any recipe, changes can be a splendid thing, and I’m curious to see if nutmeg or clove could replace this drink’s main ingredient to give me a taste of Sujeonggwa.
Like most traditional foods, it was originally made in palaces, and was made by women on New Year’s Day (and is still a popular New Year’s Day beverage) but Sujeonggwa can be dated back in literature to the mid 1800s and is known to be at least several hundred years older than that. Most Korean foods have a fascinating history if you care to take a look.
If you want to try making Korean Cinnamon Punch yourself, here’s a Maangchi recipe to follow: