May 25, 2024
KCNA Naenara (En)

Makkolli, One of Traditional Korean Drinks

Date: 22/04/2024 | Source: Naenara (En) | Read original version at source

Makkolli or fermented grain wine is one of the traditional drinks the Korean people have enjoyed for many centuries.

The name makkoli is derived from a Korean word meaning roughly filtered fermented liquor.

It had been called differently: namely thakju , jaeju or hoeju for its cloudiness, thakbaegi as the opaque liquor is served in an earthenware bowl, paekju for its milky colour when served in wedding and funeral ceremonies, kaju as it is brewed at homes, saju as it is drunken by workers, nongju or nongthak as it is favored by peasants.

Makkoli brewing is the simplest among those of the traditional liquors of Korea, and it has a long history.

An old book Sonhwabongsakoryodogyong written by a man from China’s Song dynasty, who had ever visited Koryo (a Korean feudal state that had existed between 918 and 1392) in the early 12th century, and other historical records in the period of Koryo dynasty had notes and verses about makkoli .

This shows that Koreans had brewed and drunken makkoli in the period of Koryo dynasty or even before.

Makkoli was brewed by fermenting cereals such as glutinous rice, white rice and barley, or something like the washing water of rice, with malt before filtering.

Here are brewing methods. First ferment any cereal with malted wheat until it is brewed into chongju or refined liquor. Then add water to the remaining liquor and filter it into makkoli . Use malted rice in fermentation and sieve the liquor finely to brew a superb makkoli .

Among the traditional makkolis are kupsiju (liquor fermented and brewed in haste), rihwaju (liquor brewed in the pear flower season), chumoju (liquor brewed with winter barley), and sajolju (liquor which can be brewed in all seasons).

Makkoli has been widely consumed in local diet as it has an alcohol content of about 5-7%, and tastes sour, sweet, rough and refreshing.

It was customary for Korean peasants to brew makkoli at homes and share it during breaks of farm work or at lunchtime in midsummer, relieving fatigue and promoting harmony with neighbours. Such practice is still being carried on.

Makkolli brewing is on the national intangible cultural heritage list.

Pak Kyong Ran

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