1. What is Makgeolli?
Dating back to the 10th century, Makgeolli is the oldest alcoholic beverage in Korea.
Made from rice, nuruk (traditional fermentation starter), and water, it has a creamy body and tart taste profile, which comes from lactic acid bacteria. It is typically a touch sweet, with an average Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of 6%.
The name makgeolli literally means ‘roughly filtered,’ and yes - it is roughly filtered! Makgeolli has an opaque white appearance due to the delicate rice sediment remaining in the drink. The sediment greatly enhances the flavor, body and aroma of the drink, so be sure to give makgeolli a quick stir or shake before consuming.
2. What is nuruk?
A traditional Korean fermentation starter, nuruk is a spontaneously fermented grain (ie. wheat, rice) cake that consists of various microorganisms and yeasts. The nuruk’s microorganisms provide enzymes that break down the rice’s starches into sugar, and allow the yeasts to convert the sugar into alcohol.
Sometimes referred to as a ‘wild’ culture, the composition of a nuruk and its resulting microorganisms and yeasts vary depending on the region where the nuruk is made.
Nuruk is fundamental to the taste of makgeolli, and as a result, makgeolli tastes different from region to region (just like how a particular region's climate, soils and terrain affect the taste of wine).
3. What does Makku mean?
Makku is a play on the word ‘makgeolli’, which is also spelled ‘makku-li.’ We understand that it’s hard to remember or pronounce ‘makgeolli’, so we wanted to provide a short, memorable word as a first step.
4. Why do I need to shake the can before drinking?
As MÀKKU is lightly filtered, rice sediment settles at the bottom of the drink over time. This rice sediment enhances the texture and flavor of the drink, so it is important to gently shake the can, or pour the entire drink into a cup, to mix the rice sediment back into the body of the drink. Be careful not to vigorously shake the can, as the drink is carbonated and can overflow upon opening.
5. Is it gluten free?
Makgeolli can be gluten free, depending on what kind of nuruk is used. Usage of wheat-based nuruk in makgeolli lends to an earthier, funkier, more complex flavor, and usage of rice-based nuruk lends to a cleaner, simpler, taste.
To provide an easy to drink, smooth makgeolli that also provides nuanced depth, we use a blend of both wheat and rice based nuruk. However, our resulting products all meet the threshold of being gluten free, as per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the U.S. government's regulatory arm that oversees food and beverage labeling, including some Alcoholic products).
The threshold for being gluten-free as per the FDA is <20 ppm (parts per million). Most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small amounts of gluten, and other countries and international bodies use this same criteria. Our gluten level per can is <5 ppm.