Soju, the national alcoholic beverage of the country of Korea, has become very popular and is selling excellently by volume around the world.
Although it’s been long overlooked in the U.S., it’s finally being appreciated for its lovely taste.
If you’ve never heard of or tasted it, you must know some details about the drink.
In this article, we’ll be providing you with details about your favorite Korean drama character, one that’s never missed a guest appearance.
So, what does Soju taste like? Here is all you need to know when planning to get to know this spirit alcohol.
What is Soju?
Soju is a form of distilled alcohol that’s traditionally made with rice as its base.
A lot of people believe that this Korean beverage is only made from sweet potatoes.
Soju is actually produced from different blends of sweet potato, tapioca, barley, or wheat, depending on the variety.
Sweet potato is prominently used to make Soju, but this does not explain the sweet taste.
It’s typically made with the use of rice, and the natural sugar brings a more poignant, sweet flavor.
It is also transparent and colorless.
With an ABV of 20-25%, it’s a low-content alcohol that’s considered essential.
Hailing from Korea, the alcoholic beverage is primarily consumed in this region, with the leading brand to produce them being Jinro.
You can drink it on its own, with some food, or create cocktails with different ingredients.
What Does Soju Taste Like?
Soju contains a neutral tone that’s smooth and clean.
It has been stated that Soju shares some aspects with vodka regarding its flavor.
However, Soju that’s sold commercially and not traditionally made is usually sweeter and tends to hold a less aggressive tone than vodka.
You might notice a mild hint of bitterness as you drink Soju.
This is because there is an astringency linked to the flavor, which surpasses the sweetness of the Soju.
However, there are different varieties, such as those made from potato starch, that are subtly sweeter, and the bitterness is barely noticeable.
When comparing it to vodka, once again, you can see that they also are similar in the sense that they both have varied flavors.
This is to appeal to people with different preferences.
Younger people, for example, tend to like fruity beverages or spiked juices, so to cater to this target audience, there are Soju varieties that come in juice boxes.
Unlike the original neutral-tasting Soju found in bottles, in these boxes, you can find different flavors that lace the Soju.
Flavored Soju has a variety of colors and tastes.
Among some of the flavorings, there are grapefruit, apple, blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate, citrus, pineapple, etc.
There have been studies that result in finding the nutritional value of Soju, such as the prevention of strokes.
As it contains less alcohol content, a drink a day helps reduce risks of severe ailments like loss of blood and damage to the brain tissue.
Soju can even help with digestion issues when you mix it with water.
How to Drink and Serve Soju?
Although spirits are notoriously known to be challenging to mix with other food, Soju goes quite well besides a hearty meal.
Wine and food are a great pair, and similarly, Soju and food bring out the best in each other.
The drink is used to tame sharp and intense flavors, and bring forth an enhanced umami taste.
In Seoul, particularly, people have Soju with traditional street foods found in familiar public places.
The street food can range from rice cake with spicy fish (tteokbokki), rotisserie pork belly (samgyeopsal), broth & pork trotter (jokbal), and so on.
You can whip up some easy Korean BBQ recipes at home and serve your guests a good time.
Soju tastes the best when chilled and sipped straight from a small glass, slightly more significant than a shot glass.
Drinking this beverage is quite common in Korean society, so if you’re in Korea and having a drink with a group of people, it’s best to look up on the societal norms that are expected.
Soju can naturally complement cocktails made from gin or vodka.
So, if you want to make gimlets, bloody marys, or negronis, Soju can be of great help.
If you want to make these cocktails, you must get high-proof Soju to avoid being overpowered by other flavors.
Soju is a drink loved by the Korean community and is quite commonly found during social gatherings.
If you’re with senior members, you should never pour your own drink.
Instead, you must allow the oldest member of whatever social group you’re hanging out with to pour and give it to you.
The fermented white rice is what makes the drink good, and you’re able to pair it with various dishes.
Although we’ve discussed the taste profile of Soju, in Korea, many people say that soju tastes like life.
They state it’s sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet, and other times smooth & clean.