There are many ways to describe the culture in South Korea. K-pop, K-drama, kimchi, chicken and Korean BBQ are only a small portion of the culture. But for people who are of proper age, drinking is very much an important part as well. Whether it be recreational or business-related, drinking is a form to let loose, relax, and have fun. Some alcoholic beverages in Korea might seem weaker to first-timers in comparison to stronger drinks, but by no means are they low in alcohol content. Korea has a wide variety of interesting must-try alcohol to enjoy the night away. Here are a few.
1. Soju (소주)
Soju is the most well-known out of all the alcohol in Korea. With its popular green glass bottle, soju is a drink that pairs well with most Korean food. When ordering in a restaurant, they also provide you with a small soju shot glass perfect to drink out of. It is commonly known to be 19-25% in alcohol content, so it is higher than regular beer but lower than vodka or whiskey. They come in different flavors ranging from original to fruit-flavored. Not to mention, soju is pretty cheap. They go for about 4,000-5,000 won, but you can also buy them in any convenience store or mart for about 1,000-2,000 won.
2. Makgeolli (막걸리)
The oldest alcohol in Korea, makgeolli is a type of drink sold mostly in traditional restaurants. It’s a sweet rice wine that’s carbonated to give you a bit of a kick. Once created to give a little energy boost to farmers working in the fields, is now a popular choice of alcohol to everyone from young adults to the elderly. Makgeolli comes in different varieties for people to try. There are places that sell fruity cocktails using makgeolli as a base and others that provide versions of the drink made from different places around Korea.
3. Cheongju (청주)
Cheongju is another clear drink, similar to that of soju, but smoother and also slightly sweeter. It’s translated literally as “clear liquor” in Korean, and it’s in the category of rice wine, same as makgeolli. With its alcohol content at 16%, cheongju is alcohol that appeals to many light drinkers who find the taste of soju too strong. It also has a similar taste to Japanese sake. Many fans of sake drink cheongju as an alternative when in Korea.
Drinking in Korea is another part of getting to know its vast culture. It can be intimidating to buy something when you haven’t tried it or understand the language well enough to know which is what. So, these are 3 top alcoholic drinks that can help you navigate through the Korean drinking culture. Do be cautious when drinking too heavily and be sure to have fun!