Making Friends with Makgeolli 막걸리

Makgeolli is a low alcohol (6-8%) rice wine made from ground rice and a fermentation agent. It has a soy milky texture and a sweetness, and is served chilled. Sometimes it is carbonated. It’s a ‘common’ and cheap low-alcohol beverage traditionally made by farmers. But it’s come a long way baby.

There’s Makgeolli, and then there is Makgeolli

Seriously, Makgeolli is very tasty, and the skill of the maker is evident in the variety of qualities you can find in Korea. Welcome to Gangnam Style.

It seems like anything made in small batches with skill and quality materials is worth trying. And that is what is on offer at super trendy Mui Mui in Gangnam. A civilized approach to high class craft Makgeolli.

Sure you’re paying 20 times the price as the corner shop pop-bottle-factory Makgeolli, but it’s also 20 times better. MuiMui serves a pitcher so you can enjoy sipping fresh makgeolli, or you can mix with a fruit juice. It is accompanied by dry salted fish and spices. Unforgettably good!

MuiMui is located in the exclusive Dosan Park neighborhood of Gangnam. Sinsa-dong 653-4, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Apgujeong.

Get your tasty tiny dry salted fish at Gangnam Market Seoul 광장시장

Makgeolli is prevalent at every restaurant or food stand. Goes really well with grilled marinated Bulgogi. I enjoyed it at the not so chic, but super nice and satisfying Bistro de Pork, in Gangnam.

And then there is the simple peer-pressure. Damb you bindaeddeok street food vendors in Gwangjang Market, with your supper tasty fresh, and amazing Bindaetteok and everybody at the long table drinking the makgeolli. This falls in the, ‘if everybody is doing it, it’s gotta be right’ style of travel. When in Rome.

Fresh made hot, crispy, thick and hearty Bindaetteok
Fresh made hot, crispy, thick and hearty Bindaetteok

Makgeolli Convert

So now I love Makgeolli, and would gladly spend my entire alcohol travel allowance bringing back as much makgeolli as I can carry home.

One of the most renown brewers is award winning Sinpyeong Brewery who produce White Lotus Makgeolli, highbrow enough to be served at the Blue House. You can pick up White Lotus Makgeolli (Sinpyeong Brewery) at Seoul Incheon Airport Duty Free, sold in the double bottles package for around $25.

White Lotus Makgeolli (Sinpyeong Brewery) uses locally produced Haenaru rice and lotus leaves from Dangjin. Since 1933. Packed in a 375㎖ glass bottle. 2,800 won. 7% ABV. Also Shin Pyeong Brewery.

Welcome to the Makgeolli Craft Revolution

The Makgolli craft scene is like the beer craft scene. There are some skilled crafters working together, like Makgeolli Mamas & Papas (@MMPKorea), and Makgeolli Makers (@MakgeolliMakers) Susubori Academy, offering Makgeolli workshops and advice.

Makgeolli Mamas & Papas have written a useful Supermarket Makgeolli Guide by Makgeolli. Check it out. Mamas & Papas Makgeolli Guide.

It sounds like something I theoretically can do at home, right here in Vancouver. So, I’ve made my mind up to try my hand at a small, very small, batch of craft Makgeolli.
More on that later…Get your Makgeolli on Vancouver.

I Got My Makgeolli On! Check out my Makgeolli Making Experiment in Vancouver.

건배, Gun bae!