Here are the six of the hottest distilled soju brands in the market as reviewed by Kwon Hee-sun and Lee Jong-im, owners of Kaydee, a traditional dessert café and bar.
Soju, the companion for all seasons, has two faces these days. The first variety, recognizable as the popular green bottles found at every local supermarket, is a diluted mixture of pure ethyl alcohol, water, and a touch of sweetener— a bitter cocktail at best. The second type of soju, on the other hand, undergoes a fermentation and distillation process. Sadly, the traditional methods fell by the wayside when they were banned during the 1960s rice shortage, and the diluted solution became the drink that most call “soju” today.
Traditional soju is made from rice, barley, and various other grains resulting in a clear solution with flavors and fragrances true to its simple ingredients. Depending on the distiller’s skill and style, the liquor may even have surprising notes of flowers and fruits.
Although the price tags are hefty, especially compared to their convenience store cousins, traditional soju is making a comeback among younger generations.