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Soju: The Most Popular Spirit

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Gulp Gulp! Honey Soju

(Why Soju Should Be Your Best Friend)

Did you know that soju sells twice as much (or more) as any other spirit in the world? Just like the cool kid on the block, the invigorating soju is highly sought for and wanted. For years, soju brands have clinched Drinks International's annual list of best-selling global spirits — ranking higher than Smirnoff Vodka.

Today, soju is selling rather rapidly in 80 countries. Thanks to Korean superstar Psy, who declared soju to be his “best friend” and had his iconic dark-glassed look featured in various soju campaigns worldwide. From big billboards in America, countless soju outlets and YouTube videos, the spirit’s profile only rose higher.

Since the 14th century, when Mongol invaders taught locals how to distil with fermented rice traditionally, soju has been rooted within Korean culture. In Korea, the country with the world’s highest per capita alcohol consumption, soju occupies 97% of the spirits market. Guess what you see on K-Dramas are legit — Koreans really live by soju!

When it comes to alcoholic levels, soju nestles between wine and western spirits; it’s definitely strong enough for that alcohol rush. Plus, it goes extremely well with a wide array of foods. Yet another point for soju! Some of the best Korean delicacies to match with soju are:

  • Pickled radish

  • Tteokpokki - rice cakes and fishcakes

  • Salted shrimp

  • Jokbal - pork trotters in broth

  • Bossam - steamed pork wrapped in lettuce with garlic, peppers and kimchi

  • Grilled shellfish

The lovable soju also happens to be amazing at mixology. Head honcho of Langham's Artesian Bar (world’s best bar announced by Drinks International), Alex Kratena, was a key experimenter. He’s shaken and shared his knowledge of Soju through cocktails in Seoul, and continues whipping up interesting blends. Others have also come up with different easy-to-make soju cocktails and combinations. The spirit was also said by Kratena to have “lots of flavour without being too strong”, which adds onto the trend of milder cocktails for those who wish to enjoy a few glasses without tipping over their chairs.

Well, what do you think? Ready to make soju your new best friend?


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