Okay, I could have called this post “Makgeolli Making in Seoul”, but unless you have been to Korea chances are you wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about. Besides, I think shenanigans gives it a very fun vibe, which it was. Sit back, relax and let me tell you about my little adventure into the world of Korean wine making.
Koreans refer to rice wine as makgeolli, and it’s both popular and cheap. You’ll find it sold in any convenience store. A 750 ml bottle will set you back less than $1.50 US; alcohol content ranges between 7 and 8 percent, and sometimes a little higher. In recent years Korea has been trying to
peddle market makegolli overseas, as a health drink. However, one of the challenges is that it can go off rather quickly. Here, there are only a couple of mass producers. Most makegolli is very regional and the taste can vary from region to region.
Classes are offered at the Susubori Academy, and I found it through a group called Magegolli Mamas and Papas. Our hosts and teachers for the event were brew masters Becca and Daniel.
We began with the all important taste testing. Each sample was from a different company, and as we sipped we rated them on color, aroma, mouth feel, flavor, and aftertaste. Flavors ranged from fruity to cream cheese and birthday cake. After taste ranged from astringent to lingering.
Now it was down to the business of making our own award winning brew!
Our recipe for the day was Danyangju, which means that the brew ferments once, and the fermentation time is one week.
1 kg sticky rice (uncooked weight)
90g of Nuruk
1 L water
I don’t have a photo of the Nuruk, but it looks like a gray disk about 8 inches in diameter and 2 inches thick. Nuruk consists of micro-organisms, lacto bacillus and mold (enzymes). Doesn’t that sound yummy?! But, it is important for the fermentation process.
The sticky rice was steamed and waiting. Still hot, so we needed to cool it down.
Now we needed to get the rice into our brewing jug. It was important to weigh out the exact amount. 1 kg of uncooked rice = 1.45 cooked rice.
Then we added the other ingredients, and the fun began. The rice needs to absorb all of the water, and the absolute best way to do this is to get a little messy 🙂
About 10 minutes later I was ready to put the cap on my brew jug and head to the train station for the trip home. We were warned not to put the cap on too tight. Can you guess why?
A week later, the finished product! My makgeolli was smooth, with a bit of a tangy after taste. Usually served in a short, round, pottery cup. Hey, in a pinch, a wine glass always works.
If you’re in Seoul and interested in becoming a makgeolli brewer, contact Dan at [email protected] or Becca at [email protected] The cost of the 3 hour class is a very affordable W40,000. You only want to drink? Check out Magegolli Mamas and Papas for recommended makgeolli bars around Seoul.
Susubori Academy Website (in Korean)
Have you ever tried makgeolli? What did you think?
Linking up to Foodie Tuesday, hosted by Marcia at Inside Journeys.