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 tad 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 particles remaining in the drink.
2. What is nuruk?
A traditional Korean fermentation starter, nuruk is a spontaneously fermented grain (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, refreshing word as a first step.
4. Why is the label upside down?
As Makku is lightly filtered, rice particles settle at the bottom of the drink over time. These rice particles enhance the texture and flavor of the drink, so it is important to gently shake the can, or pour the drink into a cup, to mix the rice particles back into the body of the drink.
To serve as a gentle reminder for those enjoying our drink, we decided to place our labels upside down. At the very least, flipping our can upside down to open the can will ensure some mixing has been done.
5. Is it gluten free?
Although we are a rice-based drink, nuruk contains gluten (wheat), and thus Makku is not gluten free.