Makgeolli – Korea’s oldest alcoholic beverage
History of Makgeolli
Makgeolli (pronounced as “Makkolee”) or commonly known as Korean rice wine made from a mixture of fermented sweet rice, regular rice, wheat or barley and water, has recently gained its popularity among urban and young Koreans after a long hiatus. Previously it was also known as ‘nongju’ or farmer’s liquoir (‘nong’ meaning farmer and ‘ju’ alcohol), especially because it was served as a substitute for food during economic stagnation. But as Korea’s political and economic situation improved in the late 80’s, the consumption of makgeolli began to decrease and was soon replaced by beer, imported whiskey and wine, making makgeolli a beverage for the poor and elderly.
Taste and trends
Aside from the alcohol, makgeolli contains several beneficial nutrients to the health. Other then the 80 % water and 6-8 % alcohol, makgeolli consists of 2 % protein, 0.8 % carbohydrates, 0.1 % fat and 10 % dietary fiber along with vitamin B and C. Makgeolli is unfiltered and contains high amounts of the lactic acid bacteria, 500 times the level in yogurt! Aiding digestion, stimulating the immune system and slowing down aging processes. Moreover, Korea Food Research Institute discovered that makgeolli contains squalene, a compound believed to prevent the growth of cancer.
Where to find makgeolli?
Gun-bae (“kon-bay”) or cheers in Korean!