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Soju

Soju is a Korean beverage similar to vodka in that it is distilled. Unlike vodka, Soju is slightly sweeter because of the sugar that is added during production. Traditional Soju is made mostly from rice, but recently, producers have been experimenting with potatoes, wheat, barley, and tapioca. Soju is clear like water and it is best consumed neat. Click "read more" to learn about how Soju is made and enjoyed.

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Enjoying Soju

The Korean word “Soju” has a similar meaning to the Chinese word shaojiu which means "burned liquor." The Japanese have a similar word, shochu, which refers to a similar beverage.

Between 1965 and 1999, Korea had major rice shortages. As a result, manufacturers began to use ethanol from sweet potatoes to create Soju. This process is actually cheaper and some producers continue to produce Soju in this method. The alcohol levels in Soju have been decreasing over time, and so it is becoming more popular because of how easy it is to drink now.

There is actually a tradition associated with this drink which is usually consumed in groups. The tradition includes having someone fill your glass for you, using two hands to both offer and accept as an act of respect, as well as bowing your head. Drinking Soju in front of elders while directly facing them is a sign of disrespect, so it is polite to turn your head when you drink.