We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Soju?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Soju is an ancient form of clear alcohol distilled from rice and other grains. It was first made in the 1300s in Korea during the Mongolian occupation. It remains a popular drink, particularly in South Korea, and is sometimes mistakenly called rice wine. In fact, it is quite different from rice wine or sake, since it is not made solely from rice and has a much higher alcohol content, about 20-35% alcohol.

Some compare the taste of soju to vodka, though it tends to have a sweeter finish. The sweetness may come not only from the rice but the addition of grains like wheat, barley and tapioca. Soju is usually also sweetened with sugar during the distillation process.

In Korea, soju is served in small shot glasses, or can be used to make mixed drinks. Mixing it with lemon-lime sodas is particularly popular among younger Koreans. When consumed in the traditional manner, Koreans have very specific ways of serving and drinking the beverage, and appreciate foreigners who follow these customs.

A few of these rules include never pouring your own glass of soju, and never refilling a shot glass with more until it is completely empty. Respect for elders when drinking soju is demonstrated by younger people turning away from their elders to drink from their filled glasses, and holding the glass with two hands if a person of superior stature is pouring it. Drinkers have the option of either sipping soju or taking it in a single shot. Either form is considered polite.

The largest manufacturer of soju is the company Jinro. Doosan is another popular Korean brand. The drink is very popular, with several billion bottles consumed yearly. A form has also migrated to Japan, where it is called hochu. Koreans, like the Japanese, also are fans of sake, which is known as cheongju.

In South Korea, soju is one of the least expensive types of alcohol to buy, partly accounting for its popularity. It also has a lengthy history in the Korean culture, and is especially associated with gatherings of friends. Typically, it is consumed in group settings.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By bluedolphin — On Jan 11, 2014

I had soju when I was in South Korea and I vowed to never have it again. I experienced the worst hangover of my life from this drink. It's very cheap in Korea so it's popular, but it's not smooth and just makes me sick. I guess Koreans have tolerance to this stuff because many people mix soju with beer before they drink it! Sake makes me sick too, but it's better than soju.

I think soju is more about the cultural experience than the taste. I had it in South Korea but I wouldn't touch it here.

By donasmrs — On Jan 10, 2014

@fBoyle-- If you like malty, sweet and strong alcohol, you will like soju drinks. You can certainly buy it in the US. It's available online as well as at stores selling alcoholic beverages. In large cities, many bars and restaurants have also started serving the drink. It's becoming more and more popular in the US.

I just recommend taking it easy, especially the first few times. Soju tastes great but it has a high alcohol content. So you won't even realize how drunk you are until later. It really hits me after some time. So enjoy it slowly.

By fBoyle — On Jan 10, 2014

Is it possible to get soju wine in the States? I've had rice wine before. I know that soju is very different but I've never had the opportunity to try it. If South Koreans are so fond of it, it must be good.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.