As the temperature rises, our collective palate commences to shift in direction of light and refreshing types of beverages. Enter: soju, the beloved countrywide liquor of alternative in Korea that ought to be on your radar.
For a lengthy time—at least in the U.S.—soju was primarily connected with Korean barbecue joints and Korean dining establishments in basic. But it’s now popping up in liquor shops across the region, with a assortment of manufacturers and flavors. This fragrant and crisp liquor is straightforward to drink, but will nonetheless definitely give you a buzz. And now, like numerous aspects of Korean lifestyle, it is creating its way throughout the Pacific Ocean in a major way.
What Is Soju
Soju is a colorless grain-primarily based distilled liquor with an normal liquor written content of about 15 per cent, with the exception of some substantial-proof sojus up to 50 p.c. Historically designed with rice, soju can be distilled from other forms of grains, partly due to a ban that stopped utilizing rice in soju manufacturing during past a long time of hardship in South Korea. These times, soju is designed largely working with rice with other grains combined in, such as wheat and barley. Its flavors fluctuate relying on the brand name, but common notes include things like sweetness accented with plum, malt, and a mild hint of buttery richness, identical to Japanese sake.
How to Consume It
Like in lots of Asian consuming cultures, soju is normally consumed neat as a sipping beverage to accompany meals. As the typical soju is reduced-proof with a comparable liquor articles to Japanese sake, soju can be as mellow as a glass of pink wine, which is why it pairs so very well with food. In the common way, soju is offered by the bottle at places to eat in Korea. But a U.S. law forbids these types of practice and requires dining places to provide soju by the glass. To discover a center ground, restaurant employees ordinarily bring out the bottle and pour the initial spherical of soju for you.
There are many soju brands, some of which are readily available in the U.S. current market. Jinro is the most perfectly-recognised brand producing soju, with its quadruple-filtered Chamisul line being the most preferred soju merchandise in Korea. Other brands, this kind of as Cheoeum-Cheoreom (the maker of Soonhari flavored soju) and Great Day, are also widely distributed and cherished by quite a few followers around the globe.
In contrast to soju’s extended historical past in the Korean peninsula, flavored versions are much more of a modern iteration of the previous spirit, and some may possibly see them as an endeavor to sector the consume to younger Koreans, who are drawn to the decrease alcoholic beverages written content and fruity sweetness. Preferred flavors were created mainly based mostly on fruits that are preferred in Asia, with mango, lychee, and pear topping the reputation list. As the flavors of simple soju are largely neutral with a delicate hint of sweetness, the included fruit flavors are likely to get dominance, ensuing in a playful, fruit-ahead, and smooth drink that may get you drunk in advance of you know it.
Then there is the yogurt-flavored soju, which has observed unmatched attractiveness in abroad marketplaces exterior South Korea, this sort of as Australia, at any time considering the fact that its debut. As in comparison to western yogurt, the “yogurt” replicated in this soju is a fermented, probiotic beverage that employs a different strain of microbes and is lighter in texture and sweeter. Yakult, a Japanese business that is credited with the unique formulation of this yogurt consume, is the most well-known model. As numerous people today across East and Southeast Asia started out drinking this yogurt as young children, its taste is synonymous with their childhood recollections.
To make it uncomplicated on the nose and refreshing for the hot summer time time, chilling soju prior to serving is an strategy common in Korean restaurants. Because of its alcoholic beverages content, you really do not have to be concerned about the beverage freezing conveniently, unless you have a especially cold freezer. Immediately after chilling, the solid alcohol taste results in being subdued and the refreshing fruity and sweet notes consider centre stage.
In addition to consuming it straight, soju has a put in cocktails, too. A person of the most well-liked soju cocktail kinds is the refreshingly delectable soju slushie, which blends soju with Yakult yogurt, lime juice, and ice, similar to a smoothie.
For those who choose something fizzy and stronger, 7 elements beer and 3 components soju put together can make a new drink identified as somaek, which merges two words—soju and maekju—together and is literally translated as “soju and beer.” No matter of what route you’re getting, grab a bottle of soju upcoming time you check out a liquor shop and make positive to delight in it with family members and friends as it is a social drink in Korea.
What is your most loved way to sip soju? Let us know in the opinions below!