KOREAN NAME: 아이싱 자몽
REVIEW: After my first taste of iCing Grapefruit, I was instantly reminded of chu-hi (or チューハイ), a ubiquitous alcoholic beverage in Japan that is somewhat akin to bottled alcopop drinks like Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Bacardi Breezer, Hooper’s Hooch… you get the idea. Only, I would rate chu-hi much higher and Icing somewhere between the two. I think what both chu-hi and Icing do right is that they are not cloyingly sweet like most alcopop drinks.
So, if you are really keen to try makgeolli or just want to enjoy a nice sip of makgeolli but don’t want to commit to a whole bottle, iCing will sorely disappoint you. Which is not to say it’s bad – it’s just a matter of taste. I don’t think Kooksoondang Brewery is trying to sell it as true makgeolli per se although the company’s English webpage uses the dubiously persuasive tag: “You wouldn’t believe it’s a makkoli!” Well, I don’t and no one who has tried Icing will mistake it for one.
In the end, I think you might like it if you enjoy chu-hi or other alcopop drinks, if you just want a break from your usual spirit of choice, or if you want something light and sweet on a hot, summer day. That being said, it rates pretty low for me.
Body: Watery. Despite the unusual flavor, Icing looks almost identical to a bottled makgeolli.
Smell: Unmistakably grapefruit scented but mild and even pleasant in its own way.
BREWERY: Kooksoondang Brewery Co. (국순당)
ORIGIN: Gangwon-do, Hoengseong-gun (강원도, 회성군)
PURCHASED: Seoul, Gwangjin-gu, GS Supermarket (서울, 광진구)
AVAILABILITY: In terms of marketing, Kooksoondang has cornered the market on canned makgeolli: you can find iCing at numerous supermarkets and convenience stores. The only canned makgeolli that can touch it in terms of availability would be Saeng Saeng (check my review here.)
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 4%
INGREDIENTS: Korean rice (100%), American grapefruit extract (1,667 mg)
VOLUME: 350 ml (can)