South Korea is known to have a drinking culture that can be seen in many aspects of adult life. From social gatherings to business dinners, the majority of meals are consumed with alcohol. With boozy drinks being served with many (if not most) dinners, anyone living or visiting Korea will have ample opportunities to give the more common alcoholic beverages. With a population of only 50 million people, it might come as a surprise that the Korean beverage “soju” is actually the world’s highest selling alcohol by volume, but anyone who’s been to Korea will probably be less skeptical.

While living in South Korea we have become both willingly and unfortunately accustomed to this country’s drinking culture. From work-funded drinking excursions to a casual night out with friends, it’s been a rollercoaster of both pleasure and pain. Regardless of settings, however, we’ve grown accustomed to this nation’s unofficial national drinks of choice. Some are seasonal while others require an acquired taste to get through the evening. Many of these drinks are to be found in all corners of Korea, and although some require a test of courage, some of these Korean alcohols have grown on us!

After much taste testing for science, we thought it was time to look at some of the more common alcoholic drinks Korea has to offer: beer, soju, and makgeolli. While sciencing the hell out of the local grocery stores, marts, and 7-Elebuns, we’ve consumed enough to consider ourselves wobbly experts on the subject and the beverages at hand. While some are better than others, we wanted to put our toes in the water on this subject, avoiding the depths of each rabbit hole and just skim the surface. Without further adieu: we would like to start by introducing everyone, uninitiated, to the wonderful and quirky world of Korean booze!



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