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Drinking in South Korea

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

Drinking in South Korea

Get in, loser. We going drinking.

The drinking culture in South Korea is definitely one of my favorite of all the countries I've visited. In Korea there are three go to liquors: Beer, Soju & Makgeolli. I've experienced all of them and each one does what it needs to do.

Let's start with beer (맥주). Before coming to Korea I was not a fan. Now? I have no problem ordering a beer with my food. Here, beer and chicken go hand in hand and for good reason. Korean beers like Cass go down smooth and easy.

My dear friend Soju (소주). Everybody knows soju is the liquor of Korea and it's become my favorite too. You can buy a bottle of soju at the grocery or corner store for a dollar. Yes, a dollar. Restaurants tax for the same bottle though 🙄 There's grape, watermelon, grapefruit, blueberry and, of course, the classics. Soju is inexpensive and gets you where you need to go. Don't forget the classic beer and soju mix either (소맥). A shot of soju topped with beer and then mixed by stabbing a chopstick at the bottom of the glass. See if you can catch it in the video 🧐

And last, but not least: Makkeoli (막걸리). Makgeolli is a Korean rice wine typically drank from a bowl. It's white and slightly thick, but it's dangerous. Makgeolli goes down smooth, but will sneak up on you QUICK. Trust me 😅

Korean drinking etiquette is real as well. When drinking the youngest always pours for the table (which is always me 🙃). Pouring is always done with two hands and in order of seniority. When drinking with people older or in a higher position than you always turn away when consuming alcohol. It may seem like a lot to remember, but once you get the hang of it it'll just come naturally.

Etiquette aside, drinking in Korea is definitely a must do activity. From the plethora of drinking games to the delicious 안주 (drinking food). In Korea, drinking is always accompanied by food and that's right up my alley. Pro tip: If you drink and eat long enough in one establishment they might even start bringing you free food 😉

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