A Guide to Drinking in Korea
Drinking is an integral part of Korean society. Koreans like to drink on many occasions, such as when they are meeting friends, doing business, celebrating success, drowning misery or unwinding after a hard day at work. However, they rarely drink alone, unless they have serious personal problems, and refrain from drinking during the day. Korea has a reputation for being a place of hard drinking. This is true and false. At first, I was intimidated by stories I’d heard and rea d about the legendary drinking ability of Koreans. It’s true that Koreans drink regularly and often to the point of vomiting, but they get drunk as easily as anybody else and a large percentage of them are in fact allergic to alcohol and turn red after the first glass. In short, they’re out there drinking, but if you’re used to drinking, you should be able to keep up with them.
We understand that this might be a sensitive post. Let us begin by saying that not everyone in Korea is a drunkard. What we want to talk about is the differences in the drinking culture here in Korea compared to what we’re used to in Canada. Not everybody drinks excessively here in Korea the same way not everyone in Canada drinks excessively. But, when you do go out for drinking here, be prepared for a different mentality, approach, and game plan. Follow these steps and you should blend right in.
What to drink
Below is a list of some of the Korean alcohol you may come across.
Soju – Korean vodka that is generally watered down to around 20 percent alcohol. There are few brands of Soju that have a higher alcohol content –Soju from Andong can be as high as 45 percent alcohol. There is some mystery surrounding the ingredients of Soju. Whether Soju is made from sweet potatoes, rice or …just chemicals‟, is fiercely debated amongst Koreans.
Baek Se Ju – A filtered rice wine infused with ginseng which will supposedly allow you to live to be 100 (14% alcohol).
Heuk Ju –A filted rice wine made from black rice that tastes very similar to Baek Se Ju, but without the Ginseng bite (13% alcohol).
Chung Ha – Korean sake (13% alcohol).
Makkeoli – An unfiltered rice wine often drunk in the mountains which reportedly gives the worst