Soju is one of the most popular liquor. It is consumed by the masses in Korea, China, Japan, and now even the United States. It is described as being similar to vodka but with a lower alcohol content. It is typically 20-40% alcohol content and comes in a variety of flavors from green apple to plum to grapefruit. (Author’s personal opinion but peach is the best flavor.) Soju can be consumed on it owns straight or mixed with other ingredients. Soju cocktails are commonly mixed with fruit juices, soda, and/or yogurt drinks. Soju can also be mixed with beer to create a beer cocktail referred to as Somaek.
Soju is commonly consumed with food and vice versa. Anju is a word to describe food that is meant to be consumed with alcohol. Think your typical bar food but on a more filling scale. Common anju are korean fried chicken, korean pancakes (pajeon), blood sausage (soondae), spicy rice cakes (tteokbokki) etc. The food options tend to be savory and spicy.
There are unspoken traditional drinking manners as well. One should never pour their own drinks as it can be considered unlucky since drinking should be a communal activity. The first drink is typically poured by the most senior person. The receiver should hold the glass with two hands, turn their head to the side, and shoot the shot. Soju can be sipped; however, it is normally taken as shots. If anything, the first drink should be taken as a shot. Taking the shot with two hands is a sign of respect as well as the turning of the head.
Drinking games are also very common. There are a few that are commonly associated with soju in itself and they include, but are not limited to, Flick the cap, Titanic, and the Image game.
Soju should not be underestimated for its weaker alcohol content. Since it is easy to consume (no harsh burn of drinking alcohol) and the addition of games, one can find themselves having consumed more than they intended. It is one of those alcohol that can really creep up on you! Please drink responsibly 🙂