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Drinking in Korea

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I was thinking about topics to talk about and thought why not talk about my favourite pastime (only when I was in Korea) - DRINKING

To begin let me introduce a few of my favourite kind of drinks.

Soju 소주

Soju (Hangul 소주; Hanja 燒酒) is a distilled beverage native to Korea. Its taste is comparable to vodka, though often slightly sweeter due to the sugars added in the manufacturing process, and more commonly consumed neat. (wikipedia)

Soju has to be the most common alcoholic consumed in Korea and the Koreans are mad about this drink. What’s more attractive is the affordability of this alcohol, ranging from about 1,000won to about 5,000won, a portion of what we pay here in Singapore, the cheapest I’ve ever encountered at $13, and the most expensive at $23. You can see how easy it is on the wallets to go out for drinks without worrying that you’re gonna splurge your week’s allowance in a night. Domestic alcohol, in general, is cheap, and I think the most I’ve ever paid for drinks is 20,000won, and by then I am already extremely, extremely high.

The various brands of Soju also taste different, and the alcohol content also slightly differs. My personal favourite is 처음처럼 (the center bottle in the above picture) because it is comparatively less sharp and smoother than the other commonly drank brands like 참이슬 (fresh or original alike).

It is also an extremely versatile spirit and can be drank in a multitude of ways.

Cocktail Soju 칵테일 소주

Another variation of soju is Cocktail Soju, where the spirit is mixed with either fruit juices (과일 소주), yakult or what they classify as yogurt (요구르트 소주), or some other non-alcoholic drinks. This drink is extremely sweet and tasty and people tend to go fast on this drink because of the delayed effects of the alcohol.

My favourite of the lot has to be yakult soju. This concoction is created by mixing soju, lemon juice, cider (sprite/7up) and yakult. Yumssssss.

Somaek 소맥 (폭탄주)

Somaek is a portmanteau of the words soju and maekju 맥주 (beer). This drink is concocted by mixing a portion of soju into a mug of beer. The result of it is a drink that is comparatively less gassy as compared to beer, and obviously smoother as compared to having a soju shot neat.

A fancier way to drink somaek would be as seen in the picture, by stacking soju shot glasses on top of lined beer mugs, and then knocking the first shot glass down in a domino effect and then enjoying the drink with your friends.

I am a living proof that drinking and somaek and soju neat can kill, and I suffered my first hangover of my life drinking somaek after getting semi-drunk from soju. I died a horrible death that night and woke up feeling like shit.

고진감래 苦盡甘來

I don’t know how exactly to translate the name of this drink, but it literally means that“the sweet will follow the bitter”.

This drink is interesting, because unlike cocktail soju or somaek where you mix the drinks together before consumption, this drink actually comes in parts.

(I took the following set of pictures from here)

1. In a empty beer mug, place a soju shot glass inside and fill it halfway with Cola.

2. Stack a empty soju shot glass on top of the first, and pour soju into that glass.

3. Finally, fill the mug with beer!

This drink is really interesting because you first taste the beer, and then somaek kicks in, and when you are done with the bitter alcohol, the last shot of Cola provides you with a bitter sweetness. Awesome ;)

I only learnt of this drink in December when I went back, but instantly fell in love with it at first try <3

Fermented Rice Wine, Makgeolli 막걸리 &  Dongdong-Ju 동동주

The main difference between Makgeolli and Dongdong-Ju is that the former is made from rice, and the latter from glutinous rice. IMHO, the latter has a more elegant taste to it though the general taste of both are pretty similar.

These 2 drinks have a more country feel to it, and usually you eat savoury pancakes to go along with it. It’s also fun because instead of being poured out of a bottle, its more commonly served in a kettle or in a big earthern bowl and then ladled out into individual drinking bowls.

This stuff gets you lightheaded pretty easily though the alcohol level is considerably low, and for some, the hangover the next day is ultimate. It seems to go down well for me though, since I’ve never felt horrible from drinking them.

I usually drink Makgeolli at a traditional eatery, 가시보시, situated in the backgate area outside Inha University. Along with it we usually ate seafood and kimchi pancake.

Gosh, my tummy just growled ToT. I’m smelling the alcohol and food from 4669kilometres away.



Editor : cheryljojo

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