As a child I wasn’t so sure about why we drank icy cold dessert drinks after eating boiling hot soups and stews in the winter time in Korea. This particular cinnamon ginger punch called “sujeongwa (수정과)” was one famous Korean dessert punch that needs to be served cold. I mean icy cold!
It has intense cinnamon ginger taste, which means if you are not keen for that old world spiciness in your drink, this might not be for you. However, for those who enjoy the cinnamony or gingery taste in your beverage, this is homey and indulgent.
It is very easy to make. All you need is cinnamon sticks, ginger, and sugar. Now you can enjoy this delicious punch at any time of the year.
Sujeonggwa is meant to be served very cold. Some even freeze it for a couple of hours to get thin icy layers on top.
Traditionally dried persimmon is served with this punch, which makes for a very elegant dessert to serve the guests. It is impossible for me to find dried persimmon in the middle of South America, where I currently live. If you do have dried persimmon, make sure you soak it in the punch for at least 1 hour to soften the texture. The best way to serve the cinnamon ginger punch with persimmon to a guest is by using a shallow bowl with a spoon rather than a cup. This is so that the guest can easily break the soft persimmon with a spoon and enjoy it with the delicious juice.
The trick to making authentic flavor of sujjeongwa is to simmer the cinnamon sticks and ginger separately. If you simmer them together, it crosses out and looses the prominent fragrance of both spices during the simmering. You will also need to strain the drink in a fine cloth to catch all the impurities. All you should have left is clean and translucent tea.
The choice of sugar is up to you. I recommend using Muscovado sugar, though. It is unrefined brown sugar with molasses, which I think enhances the drink very nicely. It also intensifies the brownness in color. The amount of sugar can be adjustable and depends on your liking.
If you dine often at Korean restaurants, I bet you have tried this dessert punch. Now you know how easy it is to make.
You can store this punch in the fridge for at least 2 weeks. You can serve it hot like a tea if you wish. Either way, it is delicious and comforting beverage for you and your guests.
- 5-6 (3 oz) cinnamon sticks
- 3 oz ginger, thinly sliced
- 3 liter water, divided
- 1-2 cups muscovado sugar
- pine nuts as a garnish, optional
- dried persimmon, optional
- In one pot, combine cinnamon sticks and 1.5 liter water. In another pot, combine ginger with the rest of 1.5 liter water. Cover the both pot with lids and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Strain the tea from the both pots into a fine cloth to catch impurities and to combine.
- Add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until all the sugar dissolves. Adjust the amount of sugar for your preference. Chill and serve cold with sprinkle of pine nuts and dried persimmon.
- 1) You can freeze the punch for 2-3 hours if you like to serve icy cold. The thin icy chunks will appear on the drink. Break the ice with a folk.
- 2) Traditionally a piece of dried persimmon is also served with this punch. Make sure you soak the persimmon in the punch for 1 hour to loosen its dried texture, and serve in a shallow bowl rather than cup.