A wide range of drinks is available for your enjoyment. The maximum users know about the western alcoholic beverages like Champagne, wine, whiskey and rum. Do you think these are the only drinks that exist in our world? Well, you are certainly wrong if you think. These are just a few renowned drinks, but eastern countries like India, China, Japan and Korea have their native liquor that citizens enjoy on every enjoyable occasion. Today, we are discussing the Korean drink Soju that is quite famous for its taste and strong spirit in the region. In fact, Soju is one of the most renowned liquors in Asia that is produced primarily in South Korea and sold across the world. This drink has been used by the native people since ancient age and today it has got fame across the world.
The most popular liquor of Korea in 2014:
The western alcoholic beverages have dominated the market for a long time, but in Korea things are quite different. According to a survey, the experts were agreed that Soju was Korea’s most famous alcoholic beverage in 2014. Well, still it is and Soju’s popularity is increasing in the eastern countries due to its incredible taste. Jinro Soju is an alcoholic brand of Korea, which had registered a record sale of 71 million cases in 2014. This figure shows how Soju drink is famous and how millions of people use it in the region. The maximum Soju brands produce this liquor in South Korea and they use different types’ ingredients to enhance the taste and spirit of this drink.
Basically, Soju is prepared from rice. In other words, we can say that rice is used as the main ingredient for preparing Soju, but several brands also mix barley, wheat and other starches. Some modern brands are also mixing the starches of tapioca, sweet potatoes and normal potatoes. Many western visitors consider Soju as the Korean Vodka due to its clear and colorless appearance. You can get 16.7% to 45% alcohol content in Soju, but the maximum people prefer drinking Soju with 20% alcohol by volume. Some producers enhance the alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage by using the freezing distillation method, so you can also get increased alcohol content in this Korean drink.
The Soju brewing methods:
The producers follow two different methods for producing Soju, first is the traditional method and another is the modern method. During the ancient age, people used to follow a single distillation method for enhancing the Alcohol by Volume percentage of the drink. In addition, the Soju producers used to mix several grains with rice for producing this Korean liquor during according to the traditional method, but modern way of producing Soju is different.
The producers of modern Soju prepare it by diluting the industry grade ethanol. It offers around 95% Alcohol by Volume. To initiate the production, producers purchase a bulk of ethanol bottles and dilute the ethanol by mixing 80% quantity of water to the total volume of ethanol. The maximum brands mix sweeteners in this mix to enhance the taste and reduce the bitterness of the drink. The ethanol bottles are supplied by a single supplier in South Korea and all the reputable brands use ethanol to produce Soju. Hence, ethanol is an important ingredient for this drink, the use of sweetener is also necessary. Saccharin was the first choice in sweeteners for all the producers till 1980s, but later stevioside has replaced this sweetener. Today, stevioside is the most popular sweetener mixed in Sojus to enhance their flavors.
The distilled Soju offers higher ABV percentage (up to 35%) than non-distilled Sojus (up to 30%). The distilled Sojus can smell stronger than other types of Sojus and that’s why several alcohol lovers in Korea buy it. The Soju does not cost as expensive price as the wines, beers or other western drinks. It is a native Korean drink that’s why you can easily buy one bottle of the 300ml Soju by paying only $0.88. A reputable brand of Soju may cost up to $2.65, but not more than it. Today, this drink has reached in 80 different countries across the world. The demands for Soju are increasing as people are praising the spirit, taste and quality of this Korean drink.
The history of Soju:
Soju has become the native liquor of Korea today, but is not a Korean product. According to the historians, the Mongolian forces had invaded Koryo during the 13th century. They stayed here and trained native Koreans that how to prepare Arak. The Korean people of that time learned producing Arak and then they had turned it into the Soju. The first Soju was produced in Andong for the Mongolian forces and then it was produced in other regions of Korea. The Mongol War was the time, when Koreans learnt how to prepare liquor and how to serve it.
The whole world knows that how talented the Korean people are. After learning the preparation methods of producing Sojus, Koreans learned the methods of distilling it and they had found distilleries for producing it. The first distillery was built in Kaesong town and thus the first distilled soju drink was produced. During the old age, people used to produce Soju only from rice. Rice’s shortage had occurred during the Meiji period and the government had strictly banned the use of rice in producing Soju. Therefore, the producers had first time used ethanol for producing Soju. The producers used diluted ethanol and produced a new spirit of Soju. Today, the ethanol made Soju is sold worldwide and people like it more than rice-made Sojus.
Of course, the producers have switched to modern techniques of producing Soju, but still some companies apply traditional methods to produce this Korean drink. They use rice and other grains as the ingredients and then follow the old fermentation and distillation procedures. Whether you are drinking ethanol made Soju or grain made Soju, the taste would be awesome. You would love to take one more shot and that’s why this is called the real spirit of Korea.
Why you must drink Soju?
The Soju is a part of Korean celebrations. People enjoy parties, social events, corporate events and social gatherings by drinking Soju. It depends on your mood and it also depends on your taste. You should try it, if you have never drunk Soju before. This may become your first choice after taking the first shot. However, there are several other reasons for which you must try Soju.
It is cheap:
A wide range of drinks can be available at the wine shop, but none of them would cost as cheaper as Soju. You spend only $1.5 and get a 300ml bottle of Soju with 20% ABV. You may argue that the alcohol percentage is lower than other drinks, so you can try two bottles. Still the price would be quite low in comparison to expensive beers and champagnes. The Soju producers provide this drink in bottles and cans of different quantity. The local Korean brands offer the best taste with diverse flavors of Soju. These brands offer delicious Sojus at very affordable prices, so you must try local brands to taste the Korean Vodka.
Whole world praises the spirit of Soju:
You may not believe it, but Soju is more popular across the world than sparkling wines, beers and other alcoholic beverages. The Soju is the most sold liquor in the world during 2011 and 2015. The producers have sold millions of cases across the world. This data can be available online because experts have studied it and they have found that Soju is the most bought drink type across the world. Of course, all the Koreans love to taste Soju. It is famous in Japan, China, North Korea, USA, UK and in 75 other countries of the world. Jinro is a very popular brand that has been bought by millions of people in the last few years.
It is a mainstream liquor of Korea:
South Korea is a renowned holiday destination. People visit here to enjoy their vacations near beautiful beaches and organic beauty of the Mother Nature. You will get lots of new cuisines to taste here, but you should not forget to taste Soju. The local Korean cuisines become more delicious, when you have them with Soju. It is an integral part of Korean Celebrations and you should not miss a chance of tasting it. People can also taste Soju without visiting Korea. The world famous Soju brands like Hite Jinro can be available in many countries. You can order it in the bars and taste it. You must know how the Korean liquor tastes and why people like it so much in the eastern countries.
It makes you calm and silent:
The Korean people believe that Soju reduces anger and makes drinkers calm and silent. No, there is no harmful drug used in producing this delicious liquid, but it owns a property of reducing your excitement and anger. Unlike, other liquids Soju contains a lower percentage of alcohol. You get only 20% ABV, but still it can effectively prevent the strenuous behavior of the user.
Soju + Beer, the best cocktail:
Thousands of people have tried it and all of them have become habitual of drinking Soju-beer cocktail. The taste of Soju improves by mixing it into the beer. Almost Korean bars serve the Soju-Beer cocktail. The local citizens of Korea call this cocktail Somaek and you should try it for once.
It makes you feel relaxed:
You can find some images of drunken people on the internet, who are holding the bottles of Soju. It happens, when you drink too many bottles of Soju. Usually, it makes you feel relaxed. People enjoy Soju with their meals and then sleep calmly. So, if you have sleeping disorders or other related problems, then you must try this Korean drink to relieve the issue.
How to drink Soju?
Hence, you have many reasons to drink Soju, now you should know how to drink Soju. It is the first distilled alcoholic beverage of Korea and now it is sold in more than 80 countries all over the world. It is cost-effective, but mostly the Koreans drink this beverage. People, who call it awful, they also love this drink when they taste it. The Koreans do not drink Soju as people drink other liquors around the world. The Koreans share the same bottle to take their relationship to the next level. They share Soju on every special occasion and it is called manner to serve Soju to the elders.
Many non-Korean people dislike the taste of Soju. Some of them may have tried it neat, that’s why they do not like it. You should always order Soju with a beer. The bartender would not get amazed, if you drink the Beer-Soju cocktail. He may get amazed that you are drinking only Soju because many people find its taste quite bitter and unappreciable. So try to order it with some beer and snacks.
Opening the bottle:
It is not as simple as you are thinking. Actually, there is a ritual to open Soju bottles and no one knows why. First, you have to swirl the drink and then you have to tap at the bottom of the bottle and then open the cap. Now do not drink it after opening the cap, first pour some Soju on the ground and then drink it. This is how you should drink Soju. Some of you may call it nonsense, but that’s how the Korean people open Soju bottles.
Pouring Soju in the glasses:
It is something that many people do not know. You can many times hurt your Korean host, if you are attending his party and pouring Soju like other alcoholic beverages. The Korean people first provide the glasses, which you must hold by both of your hands. It is considered as a good manner in Korea. Now wait until the elder person pours your shot. Drink it and avoid eye-contact with the elders, once you have got the shot and drunk it. This is how Koreans drink Soju at social gatherings and events.
The Korean people do not shy in accepting that they like Shoju. It has become an important part of their life and they have it with the delicious meals. The Soju drinking games are also organized several times in different cities. People take part in those games and share multiple shots of Soju. However, people do not follow the rituals of drinking Soju in those games.
Best brands of Soju:
During the old age, Soju was only produced in Andong, but today it is produced in several different regions of South Korea. Several famous brands produce this Korean liquor and let us share the best Soju brands.
It is the best selling and the most famous brand of Soju. People, who live in Seoul and its nearby regions, prefer drinking only HiteJinro. This brand has supplied Korean Soju to several other countries. As we have mentioned, Soju is sold in more than 80 countries and the maximum of them order HiteJinro. This brand provides several different flavors of Soju and it is responsible for maintaining a pleasing taste of this Korean drink. Some spirits of HiteJinro Soju can be harsh and bitter, but there are also some spirits that taste awesome.
This brand does not follow the traditional recopies of producing Soju. It reduces the harshness and adds some extra elements to enhance the taste. It is the most selling Soju brand after HiteJinro. The Korean females choose only Chum Churum. Due to the immense popularity of Chum Churum among the female Koreans, many foreigners have also tried it. The tourists often order for a bottle of Chum Churum and they find it delicious.
Do not get amazed, if you find the Andong Soju in the corporate events. Many foreigners like drinking Andong, when they visit Korea or a Korean event. It is more expensive than HiteJinro and Chum Churum. It costs more because it provides much smoother and delighting taste than other brands. The ABV percentage of Andong is also higher than other Sojus. It contains 40% Alcohol by Volume and the Koreans are brewing it since last 700 years. Some individuals consider Andong the synonym of Soju and some consider it the best Soju brand in Korea.
There are several other Soju brands like Saan, Lee Gang Ju, and some others. You must taste any one of these three sojus, if you are drinking it for the first time.
Try Soju to know the Korean taste:
Some individuals may say that Soju doesn’t taste good or it is cheap liquor, but it is the best selling alcoholic beverage of Korea. This drink has been the best selling liquor and it is the first choice of many people. Soju can be smoother, delicious or harsh. It depends on your choice that which brand you prefer to taste it.