All over South Korea, there’s a restaurant franchise called BaekSeJu Ma-Ul Bar/Restaurant. This restaurant is actually run by the Korean company KookSoonDang, who some of you may know through the Korean rice wine BaekSeJu and this company also currently exports the most popular KookSoonDang draft makkoli.
Anyways, I’ve heard a lot of great thing about this restaurant so I had to pay a visit and try out some of the food and makkoli myself.
Mainly, this restaurant serves two types of makkoli you won’t find elsewhere, Old Makkoli (옛날술) and also the First Makkoli (첫술). The Old Makkoli costs 4,000 won (around $4 USD) while a bottle of First Makkoli costs 10,000 won (around $10 USD).
The Old Makkoli is made using more traditional methods and has a higher alcohol level of 8% while the First Makkoli is made using the “first harvested rice” with alcohol level of 7%.
The Old Makkoli tastes strong and a bit sweet while the First Makkoli tastes sweet with a bit more carbonation. Personally, I prefer the First Makkoli, it tastes really like what I have been drinking (exported KookSoonDang Makkoli made with U.S. rice) but a bit sweeter and much cleaner.
At $10 a bottle, the First Makkoli is probably one of the most expensive makkoli you will find anywhere but the taste is well worth it. Of course, you will have to go to one of these official restaurants to get a taste.
That’s another thing about makkoli, quality control is everything. Makkoli companies like to have tight control over quality of makkoli as taste can go south if the retailer does not store them in correct temperature. Also makkoli taste changes during shipping out of the country, so you never actually get the right makkoli taste you should get on exported ones.
So what? Makkoli in general tastes best when you drink it right after it’s been bottled. Most restaurants in Korea will serve you very fresh makkoli, perhaps within 1-3 days. If you want to taste great makkoli, a trip to South Korea is definitely worth it or make it yourself at home.
[백세주마을][국순당 첫술][국순당 옛날술]