In this short article, we will answer the question “Where to buy soju?” and will show you contextual information about this delicious Korean alcoholic beverage.
Where to buy soju?
The best place to buy soju in the west is online. So you will find a variety of brands. The downside of buying online is that you may have to wait a few days for your drink to arrive.
Soju is also available in supermarkets, eateries, and online shops that focus on Asian or Korean cuisine. The whereabouts of soju may also be known by your neighbourhood Asian vendors.
What exactly is soju?
The most popular drink in South Korea is soju (소주), which means “burned alcohol” in Korean. It is regarded as a national symbol. When the Mongol Empire invaded Asia in the 13th century, its technique of manufacture made its way there.
The Koreans enhanced the recipe by making rice the primary ingredient. Over time, the beverage has seen certain changes, including the development of many varieties of soju in the provinces and the modernisation of the process.
The steps involved in producing traditional soju are shown below.
What is the soju’s history?
With the invasions of the Mongol Empire at the start of the 13th century, the soju distillation method was introduced to the peninsula during the Goryeo Dynasty.
They carried arakh, a beverage that originated in Arabia and gained popularity among the Mongols under Genghis Khan. In the Yuan Dynasty, a time when Korea was ruled by the Mongols, it was the Emperor’s grandson Kublai Khan who gave arak to the Korean people.
This occasion saw the introduction to Korea of the Persian beverage distilling method, which would later form the basis for the creation of soju. The high-alcohol distilled beverage was first produced in Korea utilising rice, wheat, and barley.
Because rice was one of the most important commodities at the time, soju took some time to become well-known in Korea, and its consumption was first concentrated in the top classes among nobles and monarchs.
Soju eventually spread to the upper classes of society, and by the turn of the 20th century, Koreans were among the nation’s biggest consumers of soju.
Production of the beverage was outlawed when Japan invaded the peninsula during World War II, and beer and sake grew in popularity in their place.
The government passed a law forbidding the distillation of rice after Japan left Korea. The action was taken in the 1960s, following the end of the Korean War, when there was a severe food scarcity situation in the nation.
Due to the restriction, producers used tapioca and sweet potatoes instead of rice in the soju-producing process. Only in the 1990s did the Korean government once more permit the distillation of the beverage using cereal.
Soju has undergone other changes as it has spread across the Korean peninsula, in addition to replacing rice.
For instance, munbaeju (roughly, “wild pear alcohol”), a variety of soju popular in North Korea, is recognised for having a fruity pear-like aroma despite not being used in the drink’s preparation.
To counteract the bitter taste of alcohol, soju in the Chungcheong Province of western South Korea frequently contains flowery components such as lotus leaves, azaleas, and chrysanthemum stems.
This custom is also practised in other areas, such as Jeolla, where soju is made with pear, honey, and cinnamon. The hongju variety, meaning “red alcohol,” was created on the island of Jindo using medicinal herbs to give the beverage its distinctive red colour.
How is modern-day soju produced?
There are “traditional” and “contemporary” varieties of soju that have evolved and undergone several alterations. Due to the lengthy process of fermenting the rice and preparing the grain, making traditional soju might take weeks.
Nowadays, ethanol is diluted with water to create soju, which is then sweetened. Soju may now be produced in large quantities without spending as much time or money as would otherwise be necessary thanks to this streamlined technique.
Women in South Korea have carried down the old art of manufacturing soju from generation to generation, but men are also in charge of the inspection.
According to research, the technique performed in Andong, in the province of North Gyeongsang, is the one that is the truest to the “original,” brought to Korea by the Mongols.
What distinguishes sake and soju from one another?
Soju and sake are excellent alcoholic beverages to mix into a beverage or serve alongside food.
The interesting thing is that while both dishes are cooked using rice, they have distinctly different flavours from one another. Japanese beverage sake has a far lower alcohol concentration than soju.
Currently, soju is most frequently taken straight up in a shot glass, but it also looks stunning blended into other cocktails. Usually, the loot goes into making drinks. The wonderful part is that you can pair different kinds of sake with different foods.
For instance, the ginjo variety goes particularly well with light fares like fish and salads. That is due to his sweetness. With pasta and roasted meats, the dry junmai sake enhances the flavour of the seasonings.
In this short article, we answered the question “Where to buy soju?” and have also shown you contextual information about this delicious Korean alcoholic beverage.