Makkoli

A representative traditional Korean wine called takju and dongdongju that is made without filtering in the ground after the fermentation of the grains and nuruk

It is made from rice (referred to in English as Korean rice wine) which gives it a milky, off-white color, and sweetness. It is made by fermenting a mixture of rice and water, and is about 6.5–7% alcohol by volume. Dongdongju (동동주) is a drink very similar to makkoli, and both are commonly imbibed alongside Korean pancakes called pajeon (파전) or bindaetteok (빈대떡).

Makkoli, a kind of takju that is popular to this day, has the longest history among the traditional Korean wines, and is enjoyed by a broad range of consumers, from urban to rural areas.

Takju was originally home-brewed wine, so each family employed a unique method of brewing it. Therefore, its tastes were also varied. Moreover, it has maintained its popularity through the years. Takju is also referred to as daepo, moju, wangdaepo, jeonnaegisul (Nonsan area), takbaegi (Jeju area), takjubaegi (Busan area), and takju (Kyungbuk area), depending on the area where the wine was brewed.

Yakju has been brewed from as far back as the Three Kingdoms Era owing to the development then of a wine-manufacturing technique, but the distinction between takju and yakju was not clear for with the same ingredients, both takju and yakju could be made.

After the Koryo Era, the representative takju was ewhaju (meaning the flower of a pear). The name ewhaju came from the season when the nuruk for takju was made, when the flowers of pears blossomed.

At present, however, nuruk can be made anytime, so the name has disappeared. Through the “Reviving Traditional Korean Wines” project by Kook Soon Dang, however, ewhaju was reborn. Sang makkoli, which is full of live lactic-acid bacteria, has a tangy freshness, while the sterilized makkoli has a smoother taste.

Commercially, makkoli is most commonly available in plastic bottles or aseptic box containers. As it is an unfiltered beverage, it is generally shaken before consumed, as the cloudy white portion tends to settle to the bottom, leaving a pale yellow-clear liquid on top.