Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Makgeolli: Farmer’s wine

The history of Korean rice wine dates back to the period of Goryeo Dynasty (918-1320), when Chinese literature recorded the manners and customs of consuming makgeolli. Some say there are traces of this wine even back to the Three Kingdoms era (57 BC to 668 AD).

Makgeolli is a traditional Korean rice wine that has been consumed by Koreans for many centuries. Koreans had an advanced farming culture early in their history, which helped lead to the development of unique alcoholic beverages. As iron tools became widespread, a full-scale agricultural society emerged and produced traditional alcoholic beverages from grains.

In particular, the traditional Korean alcoholic drink Makgeolli strengthened the relationship among farmers who shared it as nongju (the farmer’s alcoholic drink) in the busy seasons. During the Goryeo dynasty, Makgeolli was called ihwaju (pear blossom alcohol), as the liquor was made when the pear trees were in blossom.

Makgeolli was brewed at home for centuries and it was considered a “farmer’s wine” because of the high nutritional content and carbonation, it was a great refreshing energy drink for farmers. At the same time, it became a powerful source that shaped food and beverage culture in the agricultural society.

Makgeolli refers to cloudy rice wine; the word Makgeolli means “rough,” “coarse,” or “tough,” but also “just filtered.” Makgeolli is a fermented beverage that contains a small amount of alcohol.

The traditional way of serving Makgeolli include, delicate circular swirling and shaking. Although, describing the taste of any food/beverage is purely depend on the perception of an individual, while experiencing the Makgeolli, one can effortlessly notice the blend of sweet, bitter, umami and sour tastes that trigger the taste buds with pleasant sparkling pungency at the palate.
Makgeolli: Farmer’s wine

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