S2:E6 | 6.27.2019

The Quest for Mystic Makgeolli

Makgeolli is a traditional and complex brew that’s little known outside of Korea and widely misunderstood within the country. Can a new generation of brewers revive the lost art of the "true" Makgeolli?

About This Episode

Makgeolli is a quintessentially Korean alcohol, but few people outside of the Korean peninsula have ever heard of, much less tasted it. Even within Korea, it’s mostly known as an overly sweet, low quality drink available at every corner convenience store. But the real version of Makgeolli is the product of centuries of traditional Korean brewing techniques -- an elegant, complex, and balanced brew easily made in any home kitchen with only three ingredients: water, rice, and a fermentation starter called nuruk. How did Korean history shape Makgeolli production? And can a new generation of brewers revive the lost art of the "true" Makgeolli?

To learn more about Julia Mellor and The Sool Company, visit their website at https://thesoolcompany.com.


Bridget Lancaster: They say that the most important discoveries were made out of true need. Like fire, the moldboard plow, vaccines. Now I'm going to add one more to that list that's not on too many others—fermented beverages. Okay I'm biased here—I've been brewing beer for decades. And I think that whomever discovered—all those thousands of years ago—that drinking a funky smelling mixture that was festering in a hot jar should have their own day named after them. Or at the very least, let's throw them a parade. Fermented beverages kept people alive. It was often safer to drink mead or wine instead of water. Fermentation was sort of a preservation for foods as well. You've got miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, and even cheese.

So all of this is to say that I feel pretty well v…

Read the full transcript
Cover art for Mystery Recipe podcast.

new podcast: mystery recipe

Kids AND their grown-ups will uncover the fun, fantastical, and fascinating sides of food.

learn more

Our Sponsors