Makgeolli Shake: A Korean-Inspired Delight

Makgeolli shake, a trendy Korean alcoholic beverage, expertly combines the subtle sweetness and fizz of makgeolli with the rich, creamy texture of vanilla custard and ice cream. This delectable drink has captured the hearts of many, and the best thing is that you can now make your own from the comfort of your home!

Let’s take a time to clarify what makgeolli is before we get into the wonderful makgeolli shake.

What is Makgeolli shake?

A traditional Korean alcoholic beverage produced from rice is called makgeolli or makgeoli (짉리). Although it has a distinctive milky appearance, a somewhat sweet and bitter flavor, and a slight effervescent sensation, it is frequently referred to as Korean rice wine.

The process of making makgeolli involves fermenting rice with water and a unique fermentation starter known as “nuruk (툄룩)”. The drink’s unique flavor and low alcohol content—typically between 6 and 8%—come from this technique.

It’s a well-liked beverage that’s frequently had at parties. It goes well with other Korean foods like pajeon (Korean pancake), kimchi (fermented cabbage), and dotorimuk (acorn jelly). It is typically served in tiny bowls or cups.


Are you eager to make a tasty makgeolli shake for yourself? Now let me provide my personal advice on creating the ideal blend:

Before using your makgeolli, let it cool. This will contribute to the shake’s cool, revitalizing taste.
To get the best results, combine the other ingredients (ice cubes included) with your makgeolli using a high-quality blender.
I haven’t had this variety, so I didn’t add any unique rice cereals to mine, however some franchises serve them as a garnish to give it an intriguing texture. However, it’s known as “rice crunch” (쌀토핑 in Korean), so look for that and try adding some.

Pour the shake into a tall glass and garnish with a straw for an entertaining and pleasurable beverage. I find wide-base stainless steel straws to be so versatile that I adore using them.
Remember that the final flavor of your makgeolli shake can be greatly influenced by the quantity of each component you use. Try varying the amounts of components until you discover the ideal balance to achieve the ideal flavor combination for your palette. Additionally, try making your shake with less custard and sweetened condensed milk if you want that real, robust makgeolli flavor.

Makgeolli is a traditional Korean alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. It’s characterized by its milky or cloudy appearance, which comes from the rice sediment in the drink. The fermentation process involves combining rice with water and nuruk, a fermentation starter containing various microorganisms. This process produces alcohol and gives makgeolli its slightly sweet, tangy, and mildly effervescent flavor profile. Makgeolli typically has a relatively low alcohol content, ranging from 6% to 8% ABV. It holds cultural significance in Korean society and is often enjoyed during social gatherings and celebrations. Makgeolli pairs well with various Korean dishes, such as jeon (savory pancakes), spicy foods, and Korean barbecue. Whether enjoyed traditionally in a bowl or cup or served in modern glassware, makgeolli offers a unique taste experience that has been cherished for centuries in Korea and is increasingly appreciated worldwide.

To make makgeolli at home, you’ll need a few simple ingredients and some patience for the fermentation process. Here’s how to do it:

Start by rinsing 2 cups of short-grain rice thoroughly under cold water until the water runs clear. Then, soak the rice in water for about 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain the rice well after soaking.

Next, steam the soaked rice until it’s cooked but still slightly firm. You can use a rice cooker or a steamer for this step.

Once the rice is cooked, spread it out on a clean surface, like a large tray or baking sheet, to cool completely. You want the rice to be at room temperature before moving on to the next step.

Transfer the cooled rice to a large, clean glass or ceramic container. Add about 2 tablespoons of nuruk, a traditional Korean fermentation starter, to the rice. Mix the nuruk thoroughly into the rice using clean hands or a sterilized utensil.

Now, it’s time to add water to the rice-nuruk mixture. Gradually pour in about 4 cups of filtered water, stirring as you go to combine everything evenly. You want the mixture to be well-moistened but not overly wet.

Cover the container loosely with a clean cloth or paper towel, securing it with a rubber band or string. This allows air to circulate while preventing dust or insects from getting into the mixture.

Place the container in a warm, dark place with a consistent temperature, ideally around 20-25°C (68-77°F). Leave it undisturbed for about 2-3 days, allowing the fermentation process to take place.

During this time, you may notice bubbles forming on the surface of the mixture, which is a sign that fermentation is happening. The mixture may also develop a slightly sour aroma, which is normal.

After 2-3 days, check the makgeolli for taste and texture. It should have a slightly tangy flavor and a smooth, creamy consistency. If it’s to your liking, transfer the makgeolli to clean bottles or jars with tight-fitting lids for storage.

Store the makgeolli in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process and keep it fresh. It can be consumed immediately or allowed to mature for a few more days for a stronger flavor.

When serving makgeolli, gently shake the bottle or jar to mix any settled sediment before pouring it into glasses. Enjoy the homemade makgeolli chilled, either on its own or paired with your favorite Korean dishes. Cheers!


Makgeolli, a traditional Korean rice wine, provides numerous benefits and versatile uses. It’s rich in probiotics, promoting gut health and digestion. Beyond its nutritional value, makgeolli holds cultural significance in Korean society, often enjoyed during celebrations and social gatherings.

It can be used in various culinary applications, adding a unique flavor to marinades, sauces, and desserts. As a refreshing beverage, makgeolli pairs well with a wide range of Korean dishes, enhancing the dining experience. Its subtle sweetness and tangy profile make it a delightful alternative to other alcoholic beverages, particularly during warm weather or special occasions.

For those interested in exploring Korean cuisine and culture, makgeolli offers a gateway to new culinary experiences, inviting individuals to immerse themselves in traditional flavors and ingredients. Overall, makgeolli is not just a drink but also a symbol of Korean heritage and a versatile ingredient in both the kitchen and social settings.

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