Because the temperature rises, our collective palate begins to shift in the direction of mild and refreshing sorts of drinks. Enter: soju, the beloved nationwide liquor of selection in Korea that needs to be in your radar.
For a very long time—no less than within the U.S.—soju was primarily related to Korean barbecue joints and Korean eating places usually. Nevertheless it’s now popping up in liquor shops throughout the nation, with a number of manufacturers and flavors. This aromatic and crisp liquor is simple to drink, but will nonetheless certainly provide you with a buzz. And now, like many features of Korean tradition, it’s making its approach throughout the Pacific Ocean in an enormous approach.
What Is Soju
Soju is a colorless grain-based distilled liquor with a mean alcohol content material of about 15 p.c, apart from some high-proof sojus as much as 50 p.c. Historically made with rice, soju might be distilled from different forms of grains, partly because of a ban that stopped utilizing rice in soju manufacturing throughout previous years of hardship in South Korea. Today, soju is made largely utilizing rice with different grains blended in, similar to wheat and barley. Its flavors range relying on the model, however common notes embody sweetness accented with plum, malt, and a light-weight trace of buttery richness, just like Japanese sake.
Like in lots of Asian consuming cultures, soju is usually consumed neat as a sipping beverage to accompany meals. As the typical soju is low-proof with an analogous alcohol content material to Japanese sake, soju might be as mellow as a glass of purple wine, which is why it pairs so properly with meals. Within the conventional approach, soju is offered by the bottle at eating places in Korea. However a U.S. legislation forbids such follow and requires eating places to promote soju by the glass. To discover a center floor, restaurant workers usually deliver out the bottle and pour the primary spherical of soju for you.
There are numerous soju manufacturers, a few of which can be found within the U.S. market. Jinro is essentially the most well-known model producing soju, with its quadruple-filtered Chamisul line being the preferred soju product in Korea. Different manufacturers, similar to Cheoeum-Cheoreom (the maker of Soonhari flavored soju) and Good Day, are additionally broadly distributed and liked by many followers worldwide.
In distinction to soju’s lengthy historical past within the Korean peninsula, flavored variations are extra of a up to date iteration of the outdated spirit, and a few might even see them as an try and market the drink to youthful Koreans, who’re drawn to the decrease alcohol content material and fruity sweetness. Widespread flavors have been developed largely primarily based on fruits which might be well-liked in Asia, with mango, lychee, and pear topping the recognition listing. Because the flavors of plain soju are largely impartial with a refined trace of sweetness, the added fruit flavors are inclined to take dominance, leading to a playful, fruit-forward, and clean drink that will get you drunk earlier than you already know it.
Then there’s the yogurt-flavored soju, which has seen unmatched recognition in abroad markets outdoors South Korea, similar to Australia, ever since its debut. As in comparison with western yogurt, the “yogurt” replicated on this soju is a fermented, probiotic beverage that makes use of a distinct pressure of micro organism and is lighter in texture and sweeter. Yakult, a Japanese firm that’s credited with the unique formulation of this yogurt drink, is the preferred model. As many individuals throughout East and Southeast Asia began consuming this yogurt as children, its taste is synonymous with their childhood reminiscences.
To make it simple on the nostril and refreshing for the new summer season, chilling soju previous to serving is an strategy well-liked in Korean eating places. Due to its alcohol content material, you don’t have to fret in regards to the beverage freezing simply, except you have got a very chilly freezer. After chilling, the sturdy alcohol taste turns into subdued and the refreshing fruity and candy notes take heart stage.
Along with consuming it straight, soju has a spot in cocktails, too. One of the well-liked soju cocktail varieties is the refreshingly scrumptious soju slushie, which blends soju with Yakult yogurt, lime juice, and ice, just like a smoothie.
For many who favor one thing fizzy and stronger, seven components beer and three components soju put collectively makes a brand new drink referred to as somaek, which merges two phrases—soju and maekju—collectively and is actually translated as “soju and beer.” No matter what route you’re taking, seize a bottle of soju subsequent time you go to a liquor retailer and ensure to take pleasure in it with household and pals because it’s a social drink in Korea.
What’s your favourite method to sip soju? Tell us within the feedback under!