“Just like wine became successful around the world through a systematic rating system for taste and quality, we need to produce as many experts that can establish a similar system for makgeolli,” said Kim Dong-gyo. Kim added that makgeolli sommeliers must take the lead in developing words that can express the taste and scent of makgeolli. Makgeolli School opened an intensive course last year to train makgeolli sommeliers. For more information call: (050-5609-5609).
I prefer "fresh" or 생 makgeolli, rather than the sterilized kind. I also very much appreciate dong dong ju, which is very similar but has a different preparation process.
Because makgeolli is almost always served with food, I have determined that the food type and quality is a big factor in the overall makdeolli flavor experience. Jeonju has some of the best makgeolli side dishes that I have tried and thus is at the top of my list.
What I do not like so much in makgeolli is aspartame, a synthetic sweetening ingredient that is added to most (if not all) commercially available brands. I can taste the aspartame and it is a bit distracting to me. Does anyone know of commercially available makgeolli without aspartame?
My favorite? Seng Tak from Busan area. I think it's only available in Busan area. I am not a drinker, but i can say i have tried lots and lots of different types of drinks. As for Makgoli, Seng Tak is by far the best! It comes in a very humble looking green bottle, has no added flavor like some other Makgolis have tried by adding apple, pear, or bokbunja, but has the most smooth after taste. Look for it when you travel around Busan area!!
This is a subject about which I'm a bit passionate..
I drink Baehyejeong Nurukduga brand almost exclusively... and I drink a lot of it, too! In fact, I'm writing this post having just finished a bottle after dinner. (BTW, they also supported our SGBSC-KBC Networking Event in October with free makgeolli!)
Refer to the links on my weblogs below for an even fuller rundown...
Great links, Steven! But maybe you just killed this thread by answering all the questions too quickly. 호호
I'm definitely going to try out the Bucha brand that has no aspartame. I assume it is a "fresh" style makgeolli.... right?
I have now had a chance to try this excellent makgeolli! I have tried both the 13 degree and 10 degree versions. Because it is not "fresh" it lacks the light carbonization and live bacteria. However, it is still quite delicious and it is much more convenient because it does not have to remain refrigerated. It was also nice to escape the Aspartame aftertaste!
I still have the fruit flavored and the 16 degree versions to try. I'm really curious about the 16 degree version because that's near soju strength!
Thank you for introducing me to this great product. =D
Vince - OK, I got the answer from Baehaejung Doga (the maker of my favorite makgeolli).
They pointed out that "live bacteria" makgeolli and "fresh" makgeolli are different types and that any live bacteria makgeolli which is also fresh (has carbonation) is artificially carbonated. Apparently the live bacteria types can't be naturally carbonated. Baehaejung Doga also makes a "fresh" type and does so with a different process than some of the cheaper brands.
Here's the Korean answer from Baehaejung:
아마 저희 부자10도 500ml를 선물하신 것으로 추측되는데요, 그 술은 살균주이므로 당연히 생막걸리처럼 탄산이 많을수가 없으며, 살아있는 균도 생막걸리에 비해서는 적을수밖에 없습니다. 비교를 하실려면 저희 생막걸리와 다른 생막걸리하고의 비교를 해야하지 않을까 싶습니다.
타사의 살균 막걸리 중에서는 간혹 탄산 맛이 나는 것들이 있습니다. 그러나 이런 제품들은 인공적으로 탄산을 주입한 술이며 절대로 자연적일 수가 없습니다. 그리고 말씀한 것 처럼 아스파탐이 들어있습니다. 그러나 저희 부자10도는 인공감미료를 첨가하지 않으므로 단맛이 덜한 것은 사실입니다. 저희 회사는 건강지향적인 술을 만들고자 노력하므로 이런 점은 앞으로 개선해나가야 할 점이 아닌가 생각됩니다.
정리를 해드리자면, 저희 생막걸리를 포함해서 타사의 막걸리도 최근들어서는 대부분 천연탄산입니다. 그러나 살균막걸리 중에서 탄산이 있는 제품은 100% 인공적으로 탄산을 주입한 제품입니다. 그리고 타사의 제품에는 아스파탐이 들어있으며, 저희 업체 제품에는 없습니다. 마지막으로 다른 회사는 입국하고 찐쌀로 만들지만 저희 회사는 생쌀발효법과 자체개발한 누룩으로 빚는 다는 점이 틀린 점입니다.
** See my post above on January 18 for links to the makgeolli we're talking about here.
I should point out that the Buja (부자) brand in the plastic bottles is "live bacteria" type, though not "fresh" (whatever, "fresh" means).
Interestingly, and it's hard to believe I didn't realize it before, but I never consciously noticed that there's carbonation in some makgeolli but not others.
This is great news!
BTW, I have stumbled upon another brand of makgeolli available direct from the factory here in Seoul that has no aspartame. And when it is one to three days old, it is amazingly delicious. When fresh, it has almost no carbonation. But as it ages (four or more days) the bubbles appear and it starts to taste like the non-pasteurized brands you find in the refrigerator at the store.
They also offer makgolli making classes on weekends...