Soju, which literally means “burnt drink” in Korean, is the bestselling liquor in the world by volume. A clear, traditionally rice-based spirit clocking in at around 12 to 24 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV), it can burn you if you’re not careful! It’s off-dry and has a faint aromatic and herbal sweetness. Also called “Korean vodka,” and much like its counterpart, is best served chilled. Deeply embedded in Korean culture, soju is at the heart of every gathering. The eldest pours the little shots for everyone and everyone refills each other when the glasses are empty! There is a mind-boggling number of flavours, but we’ve picked six of the best for your next get-together!
Jinro is the world’s bestselling liquor brand, selling almost 100 million cases of soju in 2021! It must be doing something right as it has topped that list for three consecutive years. This is the flagship soju: unflavoured, light, floral with a tinge of sweetness. Best served ice cold next to a crisp lager.
Canada has also started entering the soju game with this non-GMO, high-quality, corn-based soju. Moon Soju is distilled in Toronto and with it comes delicate aromas of melons and tapioca. Plus, it has a silky mouthfeel. The fresh, smooth finish pairs well with spring rolls and sushi.
Not all flavours were created equal and this one proves it. Full disclosure, I once tried this with tonic and it was one of the best flavour combinations I’ve had. This flavour, as with the unflavoured, also works very well in cocktails where you’d typically use vodka. Give it a try; what’s the worst that could happen?
Jinro 24 is the stronger, older brother of the Chamisul offering. A smooth, more fragrant alternative to vodka, this grain and sweet potato distillate blend comes in relatively higher at 24 per cent ABV. Charcoal-filtered to remove colour but keep the more grassy fragrances, it pairs with rich and spicy foods.
Are you in need of a lower-octane mojito? Or perhaps something more on the sweet side but not cloying? Then this is the soju for you. Lime juice and mint cut through the peach well, and topped with some soda? Heaven in a glass.
Yogurt is quite a popular flavour because it adds a soft richness and raisin-y sweetness to the soju. Some Korean bars will make their own by mixing soju with drinking yogurt. This is a very approachable soju and one to possibly start off your soju journey