What a Newbie Needs to Know about Soju, One of the World’s Most Popular Spirits Even if you fancy yourself a true connoisseur of liquors, you may be surprised to learn that based on the sales, the most popular spirit in the world isn’t vodka, whisky or rum but soju, a traditional Korean drink.
(The soju brand Jinro is the best-selling spirit in the world, according to,) Though many Westerners once tended to dismiss soju as a low-alcohol “Korean vodka” you might quaff at a karaoke bar, the liquor is becoming increasingly visible in the West, and you may find yourself downing a shot or two at a fancy bar sooner than you think.
“Soju’s on a similar trajectory as mezcal,” said Kyungmoon Kim, former head of wine and beverage at the Michelin-starred Jungsik restaurant in New York, and founder of KSM Imports, which specializes in artisanal liquors from South Korea. “Ten or 15 years ago, nobody thought of mezcal except as a cheap bottle with a little worm inside that gave you a headache.
Now there are so many different mezcals with different price points, depending on where the mezcal came from, up to $200 a bottle, and people are starting to understand the flavor profile and story behind each product. Soju right now everyone knows as flavorless, green-bottle soju, so we’re trying to change people’s perceptions to see that soju is a beverage with a lot of flavor and complexity.” Pexels / Roi Mojado Soju is an alcoholic beverage distilled from various starchy crops, originally and primarily still produced on the Korean peninsula.
The alcohol content can range anywhere from around 15% to over 50%, and the quality can vary greatly. It got its start in the 13th century, when invading Mongols brought with them distillation techniques they themselves had learned in the Middle East and similar to those still used today to make single-malt scotch or cognac.
Soju” in fact means “burnt liquor,” in reference to how it’s made. At this point, soju was made only from rice wine, and averaged about 40% to 50% alcohol. Eventually, each town of a reasonable size had its own local soju distiller; those distillers sold to their neighbors and had a recipe that was handed down from generation to generation.
In 1965, amid shortages of the staple of the Korean diet, the South Korean government passed a law that forbade rice in the making of soju, so soju makers switched to substitutes like barley, sweet potatoes, wheat and tapioca. To increase profits, they began diluting soju, too, a trend that continues to this day, as well as adding sweeteners and other flavors to make their product more palatable.
- Those changes also had unintended consequences in shaking up the South Korean alcohol industry and have been blamed for giving rise to a heavy drinking culture in the country.
- It forced a lot of small brewers to close down, and the big conglomerates who could use barley or sweet potato or even imported tapioca to keep the costs down were the only ones to survive,” Kim said.
“Those products made sense at a time when people barely made enough money to bring food to the table and needed to get through the day, and cheap soju still brings nostalgic memories for our fathers’ and grandfathers’ generations, but the tradition of distilled rice wine pretty much disappeared.” In 1999, the government lifted the rice ban, but cheap soju only continued to grow in popularity both inside and outside of South Korea.
Still, artisanal soju makers have started to gain a following by resurrecting the age-old methods and putting out higher-alcohol soju made from rice. Though it’s tempting to compare Korea’s most famous alcoholic beverage to Japan’s most famous alcoholic beverage, sake, that’s a bit of an apples-to-oranges situation.
Sake is a rice wine (though it’s actually brewed like beer), while soju is a distilled beverage. Koreans have their own rice wine, makgeolli, which is an analog to Japanese sake, while Japan has shochu, which is similar to soju. (“Soju” and “shochu” are even written with the same Chinese characters.) Soju is mostly drunk as a shot, downed in a single gulp.
- The host will serve the eldest guest first, then everyone else.
- Instead of “cheers,” say ” geonbae, ” which literally means “dry the glass” and is a sign of respect to the pourer.
- Always finish what’s in your glass before accepting another pour, and no one should ever fill their glass themselves.
- Serve and receive pours of soju with both hands—to do otherwise is disrespectful.
There’s a misconception floating around that you have to turn your head to the side and look away from the pourer when you drink, but that’s probably based on a foreigner misreading the fact that eye contact is not common practice in Korean culture—it’s seen as aggressive in a society where polite deference is the default.
Popular soju-based drinks include what’s sometimes referred to as a “yogurt soju cocktail,” which isn’t made with actual yogurt but with Yakult, a sweet, milky Japanese probiotic drink that comes in small plastic bottles. The recipe’s as simple as they get: Mix one bottle of Yakult with one bottle of soju (any inexpensive, “green bottle” soju will do).
Not surprisingly, it’s a cocktail associated with younger drinkers. More broadly popular is somaek, a portmanteau of “soju” and “maekju,” Korean for “beer.” It’s basically a boilermaker—drop a shot of soju in a glass of beer and gulp it down. Soju is an easy substitute for vodka in most recipes.
Im recommends soju in any of the martini family of cocktails, while barley soju, with its spicier grain finish, works well in place of whiskey. If you can find it, a pine-based soju is an excellent stand-in for gin. Look for higher-quality artisanal soju, if possible, as you’ll find it much more complex and intriguing.
Pairing soju with food isn’t a big thing in Korea, as the typical meal doesn’t involve courses but everything on the table at once in a communal setting, so you can’t approach it like you would a wine pairing, where the food and wine get equal billing.
“It can give a supporting complement to the food rather than, like wine, actualy making the food more complex,” Kim said. “The traditional rice-based soju goes well with beef dishes, and there’s barley soju that works nicely with pork belly.” Soju typically lives in the Asian section of your local liquor store, alongside Japanese sake and shochu.
It’s also possible to order soju online in most states. Most of what you’ll find in the States will be the cheaper, mass-market stuff, but it’s worth exploring your better-connected stores for the occasional standouts that have made it across the Pacific.
- The company dominates the soju market, accounting for half of South Korea’s soju sales.
- It’s reintroduced old-style packaging, specifically a sky-blue bottle with the label “Jinro Is Back,” which contains a clean, neutral soju that is a pleasant, refreshing example of what a modern soju can be.
- By The Han, is made from the ripened Asian golden plum and cold-filtered and has a floral aroma with dry aftertaste.
“Seoul Night will take your soju game to the next level, and you will never look back,” Kim said., by Solsonju, is made from an old family recipe with rice, pine needles and spruce tea. Kim described it as “exceptionally nuanced, yet offers a refreshing finish with a hint of juniper and sansho pepper spice.” Considered the most exclusive soju available today, Samhae soju was once served only to Korean aristocracy, and today boasts the Intangible Cultural Heritage stamp from the government.
Is soju a strong alcohol?
Soju Goes Where Vodka Cannot Tread You can get a mojito, a cosmo and even assorted martinis at Vine, a new fondue restaurant and nightspot in Hollywood. That wouldn’t be unusual at most bars in town, but Vine has only a beer and wine permit. It’s not breaking any laws, so what’s in the cocktails? Soju, a Korean variation on vodka traditionally made from rice but more commonly from sweet potatoes these days.
With 24% alcohol, soju is stronger than beer (4% to 5%) or wine (about 13%) but packs a weaker punch than virtually all vodkas, which are 40% alcohol. A part of traditional Korean cuisine, soju is often enjoyed with meals, but because many Korean mom and pop restaurants had only beer and wine licenses, they were unable to sell it.
(A new “general” or distilled spirits license costs $12,000 or more, according to Dave Gill, a district administrator for the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and a beer and wine license runs only $548 and often faces far less opposition from neighbors.) After some lobbying by the Korean Restaurant Owners Assn., a bill by Sen.
Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) passed in 1998, allowing the sale of soju by establishments previously licensed to sell only beer and wine in California. “Soju is served as a traditional drink accompanying spicy Korean meals and used to enhance the meal’s flavor,” reads the analysis of the bill. At first, few bar owners outside the Asian community were aware of the bill, so sales of soju were limited to Korean and a few Japanese places.
(The Japanese version, shochu, is almost identical and also can now be poured legally by establishments with beer and wine licenses.) But sales of soju shot up immediately, says Alex Kim, marketing manager for Jinro America Inc., the largest manufacturer of soju.
- We saw a 35% to 40% increase in the first year since the law passed.” And he thinks that’s only the beginning, once the traditional Korean beverage finds new drinkers.
- Soju is enormous outside of the United States: Jinro sold 55 million cases around the world in 2001.
- We haven’t aggressively marketed it to the mainstream, but we have a plan to do that in 2003,” Kim says.
The company will start where so many national trends are born: in Southern California. David Reiss, proprietor of Sugar in Santa Monica, believes his was the first non-Asian establishment in Los Angeles to take advantage of the law. He inherited a beer and wine license when he took over the club about four years ago but was unable to upgrade to a full liquor license.
He assumed that meant serving only beer, wine, champagne and sake. “We got our sake from Mutual Trading, and a guy at the warehouse asked why I didn’t also buy soju, since he knew I had a beer and wine license,” Reiss recalls. “Once I found out about soju, it made our business completely different.” Sugar offers a menu of cocktails made with Kyungwoul “Green” soju, produced by Doosan Kyungwoul Co.
in Seoul, which Reiss describes as “pretty neutral in flavor.” Few order shots of the stuff, but soju mixed in Red Bull is popular, as are standards from lemon drops to cosmos, he says-pretty much everything where you’d use vodka.” He said he’s sure other bars and clubs will catch on fast.
- In fact, he’s the one who told Vine’s owner, Simon Jones, about soju.
- He said, ‘You’re going to make a lot of money with this!’ ” Jones spent a few days experimenting with the stuff and doing research.
- We went to some Korean restaurants,” he says, “and saw that they served it straight up, or shaken with lemon or orange-flavored extract.” Servers at Vine don’t go out of their way to explain soju.
“If people ask for vodka-and-tonic or gin-and-tonic, what we serve. We tell them if they don’t like it, they don’t have to drink it,” Jones explains. Vine’s bartenders mix up a variety of soju-based cocktails, many of which are copies of vodka- and other spirits-based classics, as well as a few originals.
- As soju contains only about half the alcohol in vodka, it makes cocktails that feel and taste different.
- Soju straight up is easy to drink, mild and fairly neutral but a bit watery.
- Unlike vodka, soju doesn’t turn syrupy when left in the freezer.
- Few serious drinkers would confuse a shot of the stuff with an equal dose of super-premium vodkas like Pearl.
“It tastes like a ‘well’ vodka,” says Reiss. “Like Smirnoff.” It’s in the custom cocktails at Vine that soju shines. Windex may have a less-than-appealing name, but the electric blue libation, concocted from soju, blue curacao, orange juice and ginger, has a pleasant thickness and sweetness.
And the sour apple martini smells like fresh sliced apples and has a pleasant puckery quality. Set decorator Ann Shea was eager to try the new drinks when she noticed Vine’s list. “The lemon ginger cocktail tasted really good, like a martini, but not as harsh or strong,” she says.”I don’t usually drink hard liquor,” she adds.
“Too much of a buzz too quickly. But I don’t feel that way with soju. I can have three drinks and feel OK.” With its lower alcohol level, soju may be the drink for people who enjoy sipping a few cocktails over the course of an evening but don’t want to get drunk.
But will this newfound ability to pour soju-based drinks without a full liquor license have adverse consequences? “I’ve done some checking with our offices,” says Gill, “and we have not had any problems with the sale or service of soju in our licensed locations. Most of our licensees want to do a good job, and if this allows them to provide alcoholic beverages that are less intoxicating, that is not a bad thing.” Sugar, 814 Broadway, Santa Monica, (310) 899-1989.
Vine, 1235 N. Vine St., Hollywood, (323) 960-0800. : Soju Goes Where Vodka Cannot Tread
Can an 18 year old foreigner drink in Korea?
Alcohol. The legal drinking age in Korea is 19 years of age.
Is soju bad for health?
A popular Korean bottled drink that goes perfectly with fried little snacks is the fruit-flavored Soju. Soju, also known as “burned liquor” is a distilled drink that is made traditionally with rice or barley, but some manufactures have used other starches such as potatoes to make this drink.
This drink can range from 13% to 53% alcohol depending on the type of Soju and remains very popular because of its relatively lower price compared to other alcoholic beverages. Soju is not only widely consumed in South Korea but has now reached several other countries such as Russia and the States. Soju is a popular and fun drink that is a great celebratory drink to end off the day, but is Soju healthy? Soju is not healthy and can be detrimental to a healthy diet as it is high in calories and can cause excess weight gain due to the high alcohol percentage.
When not taking certain precautions such as which foods you pair soju with, this beverage can be very harmful towards your weight loss goals In this article, we will be covering three tips that will teach you the importance of understanding the nutritional information behind foods and drinks and what foods to avoid when trying to lose weight:
Understand the Nutrition Behind Soju Avoid Liquid Calories Like Soju How To Lose Weight When Drinking Soju
How much soju can a normal person drink?
How Much Soju To Get Drunk – Conclusion – Soju is much stronger than beer or wine but not nearly as strong as other hard alcohols. Soju is a clear smooth distilled alcohol that is traditionally consumed straight up. The current generally accepted blood alcohol level to be considered drunk is,08.
The average man (198 pounds) can drink around 8 drinks (1.5 oz each) over a two-hour period before becoming drunk. The average woman (166 pounds) can drink around 6 drinks (1.5 oz each) over a two-hour period before becoming drunk. These levels can go up or down based on some of the factors discussed above.
About The Author : How Much Soju To Get Drunk?
Is it OK to drink soju by yourself?
Etiquette and how to drink soju – Photo: /Shutterstock There are traditional rituals guiding the consumption of soju, and much of it goes back to the fact that people aren’t meant to drink soju alone. The very nature of soju is communal. “People do drink it alone, but I think that there’s really a sense of sharing with friends and family,” says Kim.
- Case in point: You’re not supposed to pour your own drinks.
- Instead, wait for a friend or seatmate to fill your glass when it’s empty.
- You return the favor when the time is right (whatever you do, don’t drink straight from the bottle).
- Both the glass that’s being refilled and the bottle being poured should be held with two hands.
If you’re drinking soju straight, which is the most common approach, it’s served in a shot glass. This is slightly misleading. It might be tempting to shoot soju, but it’s more common practice to gradually sip. Kim compares soju pours to small pours of whiskey one would savor rather drink down in one gulp.
- There is one exception: The first pour of soju should be taken as a shot.
- If you want to adhere strictly to tradition (which might be appropriate depending on setting) turn your head away from dining companions when taking the shot as a sign of respect.
- If you’ve been to a Korean restaurant, you may have noticed people shaking the soju bottle before opening it.
This tradition stems from when soju bottles were corked rather than secured with a metal cap. Bits of the cork would crumble into the drink, so you’d have to shake the bottle to get the sediment to rise to the top. Once the cork popped off, you’d tap the base the bottle with your elbow, followed by a swift hit with the webbing between your middle and pointer fingers to release a small splash of liquid, supposedly to release the unwanted chunks of cork from the bottle.
Does soju make you turn red?
Why Asians Get the ‘Asian Glow’ When They Drink Alcohol Image: Brooks PJ, Enoch M-A, Goldman D, Li T-K, Yokoyama A/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.5) Whether it’s shaojiu, sake, soju or any other alcoholic drink, many Asians turn red immediately after few shots of them. January 2, 2017 SHARE Whether it’s shaojiu, sake, soju or any other alcoholic drink, many Asians turn red immediately after few shots of them. This seemingly unique phenomenon is called the “Asian Flush” or “Asian Glow.” It’s reportedly more common among Northeast Asians, such as those of Chinese, Japanese and Korean descents.
- It’s especially embarrassing because of the notion that it makes one “wasted” too quickly, resulting to awkward social situations.
- For males, it’s often attached to the idea of unmanliness.
- See, it happens not because they’re drunker than everyone else.
- It’s not a sign of some strong qi or energy flow either.
The underlying science is all about genetics, and that’s not something you blame someone for. Ever. Image: /Wikimedia Commons () When alcohol is consumed, it is broken down into a compound called acetaldehyde through the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase, Acetaldehyde is a histamine —an organic compound involved in immunity—responsible for flushing by dilating blood vessels and allowing more blood flow.
- It is later broken down into harmless compounds through a second enzyme called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2).
- Unfortunately, Asians have two problems here.
- First, 80% of the group have hyperactive alcohol dehydrogenase, noted.
- This speeds up the breakdown of alcohol into acetaldehyde by as much as 100 times faster.
Second, many Asians have an inactive variant of ALHD2. This results to a slower breakdown of acetaldehyde into harmless compounds. The synergistic effect of both conditions is flushing that escalates quickly but wears off slowly. The Asian flush is a physiologic response, but apparently, there is one way to cure or even prevent it from happening. According JT Tran on, the way to go is through Pepcid AC Complete. Pepcid is an antacid/anti-histamine drug generically called, As you guessed, it antagonizes acetaldehyde, thereby saving one Asian from the dreaded glow.
- Tran advised: “Remember: the trick to defeating Asian Flush is to take a tablet of PEPCID AC about 45 minutes before you take your first drink.
- Doing this during this timeframe–not after you first drink–will ensure best results.” Still, anything that goes inside our body must be controlled.
- Tran warned: “Be careful though–don’t pound those drinks just because you don’t feel hot-faced or look flushed.
You still get as drunk as you normally would – and no one likes a sloppy-drunk!” So there you have it. We do not endorse self-administration of medications here at NextShark, but feel free to consult your physician if anything. At the end of the day, we just hate flushing as much as you do.
Is soju drunk as a shot?
Download Article Download Article Soju is a traditional Korean spirit that is best served cold and neat (with no ice). It’s also the best selling alcohol in the world. Packaged in a classic green bottle, it has a neutral flavor that is similar to American vodka. If you are in Korea, or in the company of Koreans, you should follow the traditions of the social sharing ritual when drinking soju.
- 1 Serve the soju cold and neat for the best flavor. Chill the bottle of soju in the refrigerator for a few hours if you are drinking at home. Don’t add ice to the drink because it is typically served as a small pour and taken as a shot.
- You won’t need to worry about this if you are ordering drinks in a restaurant—it will be served ice-cold and ready to drink!
- 2 Swirl the bottle around to create a whirlpool inside. Hold the soju near the bottom of the bottle in one hand and vigorously swirl it in a circular motion. It should only take about 2-3 seconds of swirling to create a whirlpool effect inside the bottle.
- This act is said to date back to the old days when sediment was deposited into the bottles during production. Swirling the bottle is meant to bring the sediment to the top of the bottle.
- Some drinkers opt to shake the bottle instead of swirling.
- 3 Slap the bottom of the bottle with your palm before twisting off the cap. Holding the bottle towards the bottom of the neck in one hand, use your other hand to firmly slap the end of the bottle. After a couple of firm slaps, twist off the cap.
- You may also bang the bottom of the bottle against your elbow instead of slapping it with your palm.
- Some say the purpose of this part also has to do with breaking up the sediment in the bottle.
- 4 Spread your middle and index finger apart and jab the neck of the bottle. Grip the lower portion of the bottle with one hand to hold it steady, and use the webbed area between your middle finger and index finger on your other hand to sharply jab the neck of the bottle. This should be done with enough force to make a little bit of the soju splash out of the bottle.
- This portion of the bottle-opening ritual is meant to knock the sediment that was deposited during production out of the bottle so it doesn’t get drank.
- Modern production of soju filters the alcohol, so sediment is no longer an issue. However, the tradition has remained.
- 1 Have the oldest person in the group pour the first shot of soju. They will pour a shot into each group member’s glass. After everyone has received their pour, another member of the group will use both hands to pour a shot for the server.
- This is a symbol of respect.
- 2 Use both hands to hold the bottle while pouring shots. As members of the group take turns pouring rounds of shots for one another, each should always hold the bottle with both hands. This is another way of showing respect, especially when serving your elders.
- If you are pouring the shots, do not fill your own glass. After you have filled everyone else’s glass, set the bottle down so someone can fill yours for you.
- 3 Hold the shot glass with both hands while receiving the drink. This is also a symbol of respect. Raise your cup in the air and hold it towards the server to make pouring easier. Some people may choose to bow their head when receiving the pour as well.
- After the first round of drinks has been poured, older people may use one hand when receiving subsequent pours.
- 4 Turn your head to avoid eye contact while you drink the first shot. Be sure to still hold the glass with both hands while you take your drink. The first round of drinks should be taken as a shot, not sipped.
- Using both hands while drinking is a sign of respect, and turning your head away from others is to avoid flashing your teeth—which can be seen as disrespect in traditional Korean culture.
- 5 Offer to fill empty glasses as needed. Per tradition, no glass should sit empty and no one should drink alone. If you notice someone’s glass is empty, ask if they would like another drink. After the first round of drinks, anyone can offer to fill glasses.
- Remember to use both hands while pouring the drinks.
- Remember not to fill your own glass. After you have poured a round of shots, set the bottle down so another member of the group can fill yours for you. (Remember to hold your glass with both hands while they pour.)
- 6 Sip or shoot the drinks taken after the first round. Traditionally, only the first round of drinks needs to be taken as a shot. After that, you can choose to either shoot or sip your drinks.
- Many people choose to continue to take shots, just because the “rubbing alcohol” flavor of the soju doesn’t make it very pleasant for sipping.
- 7 Drink together to show solidarity. In the Korean tradition, no one should drink alone. If you pour another shot for someone, they should pour one for you as well. If someone offers to pour you a shot first, always accept it.
- 1 Play a simple game of “Flick the Cap” after opening a new bottle. This is one of the most popular drinking games. After you remove the cap from the soju bottle, twist the end piece of the seal that’s connected to the cap to make it more stiff. Each person then takes turns flicking the end piece with their fingers.
- The person who flicks the end piece off of the cap wins; everyone else drinks.
- 2 Play a game of Titanic if you want to pass the time. Fill a drinking glass about halfway full of beer. Carefully set the shot glass in the beer so that it floats. Go around the table taking turns pouring soju into the shot glass. The goal is to keep the shot glass floating.
- The person who sinks the shot glass is the loser, and must drink the beer/soju mixture (called somek).
- 3 Play a game of “Noonchi” if you have a group of at least 4 people. The more players you have, the better! At any point during the visit, shout out “noonchi game 1!” to start the game. Then random members take turns counting in sequential order until you get to the number that corresponds with how many people you have in your group.
- Here’s the tricky part: No one can shout the same number at the same time. For example, if more than one person shouts “2” at the same time, they all have to drink a shot together.
- If your group is able to get through all the numbers without saying any in unison, the person who says the final number drinks a shot.
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- Question What can you mix with soju? This answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow Staff Editor Staff Answer
- Question Is soju good for your health? This answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow Staff Editor Staff Answer Support wikiHow by unlocking this staff-researched answer. Like many alcoholic beverages, soju may have some health benefits if you drink it in moderation. For example, one study published in the journal Neurology found that 1-2 shots per day were associated with a reduced risk of stroke. However, drinking too much of it can lead to health problems, such as liver disease, high blood pressure, or digestive problems.
- Question Is soju stronger than vodka? This answer was written by one of our trained team of researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow Staff Editor Staff Answer
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- Soju is made to be paired with food, so be sure to eat while you drink to avoid becoming overly intoxicated.
- Use soju with a higher alcohol content in place of vodka or gin in your favorite cocktails. Try it in a Bloody Mary or a Screwdriver.
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Because of the nature of the tradition—the constant pouring of rounds to keep glasses full—it is easy to consume a lot of alcohol and become very intoxicated. Drink responsibly and never drink and drive.
- Bottle of soju
- Shot glass
- Drinking glass
Article Summary X To drink soju, serve it cold and without ice for the best flavor. When you’re ready to serve it, swirl the bottle around for a couple of seconds, then slap the bottom of the bottle with your palm. This will redistribute the sediment at the bottom of the bottle if there is any.
- Once you’ve done this, twist off the cap and choose the oldest person in the room to pour shots, which is tradition in Korean culture.
- If you’re pouring the shots, fill everyone else’s glass, then set the bottle down so someone else may fill yours, which is considered respectful.
- Make sure to hold your shot glass with both hands while receiving the drink, which is also a sign of respect.
When everyone has a shot, take them together. To learn how to play Soju drinking games, read on! Did this summary help you? Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 272,672 times.
Can you drink soju straight?
How to Drink Soju – The most common way to drink soju is neat, chilled, and from a shot glass. Somaek, a portmanteau for soju and maekju (Korean for beer), is also a popular way to enjoy the spirit. Somaek is prepared by mixing a few shots of soju into a light beer (Hite and Cass are classic go-to’s).
- Lighter soju styles are sometimes used in cocktails, but not prevalent in cocktail bars,” says Vida.
- I guess it’s like any spirit really, you mix, chill, or shoot the lower quality stuff, and drink the good ones neat.” Premium soju, which is generally higher in ABV (around 40%), works well in stirred, stronger drinks or with soda water as a spritz.
Abowd likes his simple: soju and soda with a squeeze of lime. You can also mix it with juice from apples, pears, or persimmons, or infuse the spirit with botanicals like juniper or jasmine, but if you start blending it with richer fruits like kiwi or banana, you’ll mask the soju.