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Soju is a clear and colourless Korean distilled alcoholic beverage. It is usually consumed neat.

It is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Korea due to its ready availability and low price.

Soju means “burned liquor”, with the first syllable referring to the heat of distillation, and the second referring to “alcoholic drink”.


What is soju made from?

Soju is traditionally made from rice, wheat, or barley grain, but modern producers often replace rice with other starches, such as potato and sweet potato.

What does soju taste like?

Soju is a neutral tasting spirit, similar to vodka, but it is not as strong and it has a slightly sweet aftertaste.

What is soju alcohol percentage?

Soju alcohol content varies from about 12.9% to 53% alcohol by volume (ABV), but, more recently, low alcohol soju below 20% has become more popular.

Soju etiquette

The most important rule in Korean drinking etiquette is that the youngest person in the group pours the drinks for their elders. It applies not only to age but also to the hierarchy within a company. When pouring alcohol, both hands should be used to pour. When receiving alcohol, both hands should also be used to hold the glass.

Can you mix soju with other drinks?

While soju is traditionally consumed straight, it is also used to make cocktails and some mixed drinks use soju as a base spirit.

Koreans sometimes mix beer and soju to create somaek. A poktan-ju consists of a shot glass of soju dropped into a beer (similar to a boilermaker).

It is also popular to blend fruits with soju and to drink it in “slushy” form.

Flavored soju is also available. One popular flavored soju is yogurt soju, which is a combination of soju, yogurt, and lemon lime soda.

Is soju a wine or a liquor?

Soju is a liquor.

What’s the difference between soju and sake?

As discussed, soju is a Korean distilled spirit, whereas sake is a rice wine from Japan made by fermenting rice.