Creatrip: The Ultimate 2021 Guide To Korean Rice Wine Makgeolli

The Ultimate 2021 Guide To Korean Rice Wine Makgeolli

Still only drinking soju and beer? Try makgeolli, a traditional Korean alcohol that comes in various flavors.

7 months ago

boksoondoga makgeolliSource: Boksoondoga

In a previous blog, we introduced sweet alcoholic beverages that Koreans love.

We received a lot of great feedback so today we're back with another guide to traditional Korean alcohol, makgeolli (막걸리) which is rice wine.

If you already tried soju and beer, but haven't tried makgeolli (막걸리) yet, read on to learn more about the different types and recommended food pairings.

You can also check out our Korea's Drinking Culture blog, and the best Soju Flavors In 2021!

Jangsu Makgeolli
장수 막걸리

Jangsu MakgeolliSource:

Alcohol Content: 6%

When thinking about makgeolli, this is the top brand makgeolli (막걸리) that Koreans think of and prefer. Our parents love this brand too.

It's very fizzy, so it has a very refreshing taste.

Since it's a brewed rice wine, it has a high nutrition content and carbonation.

Jangsu Makgeolli with pajeonSource: Instagram @pjy_0120

This drink is best served cold and is very easy to drink. It's the perfect drink after a hard day at work on a rainy day.

We usually like to add fruit and jam to make a cocktail.

An important thing to note is the caps of the bottles. Some are bottles have green caps and some have white caps.

The makgeolli with green caps are made from Chinese rice, and the white caps are made from Korean rice.

Daebak Makgeolli
대박 막걸리

Daebak Makgeolli

Source: Kooksoondang (국순당)

Alcohol Content: 6%

This brand is widely enjoyed by our friends!

Daebak Makgeolli (대박 막걸리) is very smooth and the taste is pretty typical.

We find that it's light and not overly sweet, but also quite dry.

Daebak MakgeolliSource: Kooksoondang (국순당)

It doesn't taste much different from the previous Jangsu Makgeolli (장수 막걸리). There's only a very subtle difference.

This brand is a little less carbonated and a little drier.

If Jangsu Makgeolli (장수 막걸리) is more popular among the older generation, we would say that Daebak Makgeolli (대박 막걸리) is more popular among the younger generation!

Uguksaeng Makgeolli
우리쌀로 빚은 우국생 막걸리

Uguk Saeng MakgeolliSource: Kooksoondang (국순당) 

Alcohol Content: 6%

This is our personal favorite!

We don't like the thick and dry taste that most other brands have. But this drink doesn't have that taste!

It's very clean and smooth. We definitely recommend it for those that don't like the taste of makgeolli (막걸리).

Uguk Saeng Makgeolli with gamja JeonSource: Instagram @choi_miyoung

Since the taste is quite different from other typical makgeolli (막걸리), those who aren't used to it may find it strange.

There are some people that find this drink tasteless, like drinking plain water.

This brand is recommended for the younger generation, we remember during our college years, we mostly drank from this brand!


BoksoondogaSource: Boksoondoga

Alcohol Content: 6.5%

Boksoondoga (복순도가) is a fancier makgeolli (막걸리) brand that uses 100% Korean rice and traditional brewing methods.

Unlike other brands, it's highly recommended to NOT shake the bottle before opening it due to its high carbonation.

This Korean traditional drink is sweet and fizzy! As a lover of sparkling wine, we were pleasantly surprised by the taste.

BoksoondogaSource: Boksoondoga

It comes in a pretty big bottle and is the perfect drink to pair with Korean traditional food such as pajeon (파전), which is a Korean-style pancake made from eggs, wheat flour, rice flour, scallions, and other types of seafood.

Songsan Grape Makgeolli
송산 포도 생 막걸리

Songsan Grape Makgeolli Source:

Alcohol Content: 6%

From now on we'll be introducing fruit makgeolli (과일 막걸리) in various flavors!

As the name suggests, this drink contains grapes that make it sweet and delicious.

Songsan Grape Makgeolli Source: Instagram @apricotflower

The grape scent is strong and it's the type of alcohol you want to drink with a straw!

It tastes like a great mixture of grape juice and makgeolli (막걸리).

We thought it would taste a little weird, but it was a lot tastier than we thought!

Kook Soon Dang
Banana Makgeolli
국순당 쌀 바나나

(바나나에 반하나)

Kook Soon Dang Banana MakgeolliSource: Kooksoondang (국순당)

Alcohol Content: 4%

Next is the banana-flavored makgeolli (막걸리).

As soon as you open the lid, it smells like banana milk!

We had a feeling it was going to be delicious.

Kook Soon Dang Banana MakgeolliSource: Kooksoondang (국순당)

We found it delicious but we wouldn't recommend it.

The first glass was delicious and smooth. But as we kept drinking, we felt like it was too sweet. If an alcoholic beverage is too sweet, it's hard to keep drinking.

So we only recommend it for those that don't like alcohol and just want to try a glass.

Kook Soon Dang
Peach Makgeolli
국순당 쌀 복숭아
(피치로 피치올려)

Kook Soon Dang Peach Makgeolli Source: Kooksoondang (국순당)

Alcohol Content: 3%

After the banana makgeolli (바나나 막걸리) gained a lot of attention, the peach makgeolli (복숭아 막걸리) was released!

When we tried it, it tasted like a mixture of peach drink and makgeolli (막걸리).

Kook Soon Dang Peach Makgeolli Source: Instagram @nys032

If you found the banana flavor delicious, but too sweet, the peach flavor is less sweet but less delicious.

That doesn't mean that it's bad! We think it just depends on your personal preference.

This makgeolli has a very low alcohol content, only 3%, so we recommend it for those that can't drink a lot.

Chestnut Makgeolli
톡 쏘는 알밤동동 막걸리

Chestnut MakgeolliSource:

Alcohol Content: 6%

We were pleasantly surprised by how great this tasted!

This makgeolli is sweet, refreshing, and there's a savory taste of chestnut at the end which all go well together.

Chestnut Makgeolli with pajeonSource: Instagram @yej.s

It's perfect for those that have a sweet tooth, but it's not overly sweet that it'll make you sick.

We recommend this for those who want to try makgeolli (막걸리) but don't want to try the fruity ones.

Gapyeong Pine Nut Makgeolli
가평 잣 막걸리

Gapyeong Pine Nut Makgeolli Source:

Alcohol Content: 6%

Jat (잣) is Korean for pine nut. So it's no surprise that the drink will taste nutty which can be off-putting for some people.

As soon as you open the bottle, you will smell pine nuts and it's sweeter than most other drinks.

Gapyeong Pine Nut Makgeolli Source: 사진여행가 승욱 Naver

The pine nut flavor is quite subtle and hard to notice when drinking. But it does have a strong aftertaste!

We would recommend this drink for those who like nutty flavors, but if you're looking for a typical makgeolli (막걸리), you can feel free to skip this one.

iCing Makgeolli
아이싱 캔 막걸리

iCing MakgeolliSource: Kooksoondang (국순당)

Alcohol Content: 3~4%

iCing Makgeolli (아이싱 막걸리) comes in a can! In our opinion, of all the fruit makgeolli, this was the best by far.

We recommend this for those that are trying makgeolli for the first time and don't drink a lot.

It comes in three flavors, white grape, grapefruit, and candy soda.

We found all three flavors to be amazing.

iCing MakgeolliSource: iCing.official

The white grape flavor preserves the taste and scent of green grapes well. You can taste the sweetness and freshness of the grapes.

The candy soda is a combination of cool, refreshing soda that's sweet.

The grapefruit tastes refreshing and makes you feel like you're on a tropical vacation. We highly recommend the grapefruit!

iCing Makgeolli

Best Food Pairings

Have you ever heard Koreans say that they are craving pajeon (파전) and makgeolli (막걸리) on a rainy day?

Since people don't take shots of makgeolli (막걸리), it is enjoyed with various different Korean traditional foods

Shall we look at some of the most popular food pairings?

Potato Pancake

Gamja-jeon on white plateSource: 10000 recipe

Potato pancake (감자전) is Korean-style latke. It's made of various vegetables such as carrots, onions, mushrooms, garlic which complement the taste of potato.

Dipped in soy sauce and vinegar, it has a slight crunch to it which makes it a popular pairing with makgeolli (막걸리).


dakdoritangSource: Kitchen Stories

Dakbokkeumtang is a traditional Korean spicy braised chicken dish that's frequently enjoyed with makgeolli (막걸리).

Since the braised chicken dish is usually spicy and quite filling, taking a sip of makgeolli (막걸리), which can be described as having a sour and tangy taste, can be a great combination.


Source: goodjaram

This dish is also known as acorn jelly, which is jelly made from acorn starch. It's very unique and refreshing!

It's usually served as a healthy side dish for meals but is also a popular dish that pairs well with alcohol. It's can be tossed like a salad with other ingredients and spices to make it more flavorful.


pajeonSource: Mashija

Pajeon is a staple dish that's served with makgeolli (막걸리) on a rainy day!

It's another type of Korean-style pancake with scallion as its main ingredient.

It's warm and crispy, with flavors of beef, pork, kimchi, and seafood.

Dip it in some soy sauce and have a sip of makgeolli (막걸리) while listening to the rainfall.

Yukjeon 육전
+ Buchu Muchim 부추 무침
+ Pine Nut Makgeolli 잣 막걸리

yukjeon Buchu muchimSource: YouTube Channel 레시피 특공대

This triple combination is a very popular set that will have you craving more!

Yukjeon (육전) is a pan-fried battered dish that's made with thinly sliced beef and is typically enjoyed during special occasions or holidays.

It's the best comfort food that has a delicious meaty flavor which is nicely paired with Buchu Muchim (부추 무침), which is a simple Korean Chive Salad.

It's served often as a side dish for Korean BBQ which makes it perfect with the Yukjeon (육전)! It's actually one of our favorite dishes. 


Have a glass of pine nut makgeolli (잣 막걸리) while enjoying the flavors of the side dishes!

Dakbokkeumtang 닭볶음탕
+ Potato Pancake 감자전
+ Makgeolli 막걸리

dakdoritang Gamjajeon Source: Dining Code

As we mentioned above, potato pancake (감자전) is a popular dish that is known to go well with makgeolli (막걸리). It's often consumed with dakbokkeumtang (닭볶음탕) and there are many restaurants in Korea that will specifically sell it as a set.

Today we introduced the Korean traditional drink, makgeolli (막걸리). The drinks we introduced above can easily be found at E-Mart, Lotte Mart, Homeplus, or a CU or GS25 near your home.

Which ones are you most willing to try? Let us know down in the comments below.