(This column was written by a Korean liquor expert who visited New York. I edited the original text to fit the blog.)
One day I met Terry, a young designer who worked in Brooklyn. Terry majored in industrial design at Pratt Institute and was working for a toy company at the time.
When I met him, he was preparing a party with his friends, tilted: 2019 Makgeolli Party. Interestingly, Terry decided he wanted to make his own makgeolli, despite only having ten days before the party.
Terry tried his best to learn how to make makgeolli in time for his party through the internet. However, he soon realized there wasn’t enough time to let the makgeolli ferment, so knowing this was within my field of expertise, he asked me for help.
Luckily, I had already prepared some fermented makgeolli for the upcoming Korean Food Globalization Promotion Committee event in Manhattan. I quickly taught Terry how to cook rice wine, and with some swift cooking, the makgeolli preparations for his party were complete.
I attended his party a week later, a relatively big party with fifty people in attendance. Unlike Korean gatherings where people mostly stay seated, at New York parties, guests spend less time sitting and more time moving around and socializing. It was a scene that showed the meaningfulness and the importance of parties in a city as diverse and multicultural as New York.
Terry, staying true to his designer roots, created a design for his own liquor and trademarked it. Rice, koji, and water—the ingredients of makgeolli—were embodied by rice, the moon, and raindrops from the sky.
I liked it so much, that I asked to use the trademark for my committee event in Manhattan, and Terry happily agreed.
I ordered a few samples of makgeolli and found that the design had changed. It entailed a yellow moon, the five traditional Korean colors, a white background emphasizing the color of makgeolli, and a mix of black to contrast with the whiteness of wine rice. The design was truly worthy of representing Korea and Korean liquor in New York.