If you’ve ever watched a K-drama, you’ve probably noticed the characters drinking a clear liquid from small shot glasses. That drink is soju, a traditional Korean spirit that has been gaining popularity all around the world.
But what exactly is soju, and why is it so beloved by Koreans and K-drama characters alike? In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about this unique drink.
What is Soju?
Soju is a clear, distilled spirit that originated in Korea over 500 years ago. It’s made from rice, wheat, or barley and is typically around 20% alcohol by volume. The drink is often compared to vodka or sake, but it has a flavor all its own.
How is Soju Made?
The process of making soju is similar to that of other distilled spirits. First, the grains are milled and mixed with water to create a mash. Yeast is then added to the mixture, which ferments for several days. Finally, the fermented liquid is distilled to create the final product.
The resulting spirit is typically clear and colorless, although some brands add flavorings like green tea or citrus to create different varieties.
What Does Soju Taste Like?
Soju has a subtle flavor that’s often described as sweet and smooth, with a slightly bitter finish. It’s usually consumed in small amounts, as it can be quite potent despite its relatively low alcohol content. Some people compare the taste of soju to that of shochu, a similar Japanese spirit.
Popular Brands of Soju
There are many brands of soju available in Korea, but some of the most popular include Jinro, Chum Churum, and Chamisul. These brands are widely available and can be found at most Korean restaurants and bars around the world.
Soju in K-Dramas
If you’re a fan of K-dramas, you’ve probably noticed that soju plays a prominent role in many of them. Whether the characters are celebrating, drowning their sorrows, or just hanging out, there always seems to be a bottle of soju nearby.
One iconic scene from the drama Crash Landing on You sees the two main characters, played by Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin, sharing a bottle of soju while hiding out in a North Korean village. In Itaewon Class, Park Seo-joon’s character is frequently shown drinking soju with his friends as they navigate the cutthroat world of the restaurant industry.
Why is Soju So Popular?
So why has soju become such a beloved drink in Korea and beyond? For starters, it’s a versatile and affordable spirit that’s perfect for sharing with friends. The small shot glasses used to serve soju are perfect for communal drinking, making it a popular choice for social gatherings.
Soju has also become a cultural icon in Korea, with many people associating it with traditional Korean values like sharing and hospitality. In recent years, there has been a push to promote soju as a premium spirit, with some brands releasing higher-end versions that are meant to be sipped like whiskey or cognac.
In conclusion, soju is a unique and beloved spirit that has captured the hearts of Koreans and K-drama fans around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned drinker or a curious newcomer, there’s no denying that soju is a drink worth trying. So grab a shot glass and join the party – you might just discover your new favorite drink!
Where can I buy soju?
If you’re looking to buy soju, you don’t need to travel all the way to Korea. Many Asian supermarkets and liquor stores around the world carry a variety of soju brands, including the popular Jinro and Chum Churum. Some major retailers like Walmart and Amazon also carry soju online. In addition, many Korean restaurants and bars serve soju, so you can try it out before committing to a bottle. So whether you’re a seasoned soju drinker or a curious newcomer, finding a bottle of this beloved spirit shouldn’t be too difficult.