Korea’s Drinking Culture: A Rich Tradition of Socializing and Celebration


Korea’s Drinking Culture: A Rich Tradition of Socializing and Celebration


Welcome to the fascinating world of Korea’s drinking culture! Known for its vibrant social scene and unique traditions, Korea offers a rich and diverse drinking experience. In this article, we will delve into the customs, etiquette, and popular beverages that shape Korea’s drinking culture. So, grab a glass and join us on this journey to explore the fascinating world of Korean drinking!

The Importance of Drinking in Korean Society

Drinking holds a significant place in Korean society and plays a crucial role in socializing, networking, and building relationships. Koreans view drinking as an opportunity to bond with friends, colleagues, and family members, fostering a sense of camaraderie and connection. It is often used as a means to relax, celebrate, and let loose after a long day of work or during festive occasions.

Traditional Korean Alcoholic Beverages

Korea boasts a wide variety of traditional alcoholic beverages, each with its distinct flavors and brewing methods. Here are a few popular ones:


Soju, often referred to as Korea’s national drink, is a clear, colorless spirit made from rice or other grains. It has a mild taste and is typically enjoyed straight or mixed with other beverages like beer or soda. Soju is known for its high alcohol content, and it is a staple at gatherings and social events.


Makgeolli is a traditional rice wine with a slightly sweet and milky flavor. It is made through the fermentation of rice and has a lower alcohol content compared to soju. Makgeolli is usually served in a large bowl and shared among friends, making it a communal drinking experience.

Korean Rice Wine (Cheongju/Ssanghwaju)

Cheongju, also known as Korean 수원셔츠룸 rice wine, is a refined and clear alcoholic beverage. It is made from fermented rice and has a smooth, delicate taste. Ssanghwaju, a variation of cheongju, is infused with medicinal herbs and flowers, giving it a unique aroma and flavor.

Bokbunja Ju

Bokbunja ju is a fruit wine made from Korean black raspberries. It has a rich, sweet taste and is often consumed as a dessert wine. Bokbunja ju is cherished for its health benefits and is believed to enhance stamina and vitality.

Drinking Etiquette in Korea

Korea has its own set of drinking etiquettes that are deeply rooted in tradition and respect. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Pouring and Receiving Drinks

When pouring drinks for others, it is customary to use both hands as a sign of respect. Likewise, when receiving a drink, it is polite to hold the glass with both hands and make eye contact with the person offering the drink. Refusing a drink can be seen as impolite, so it is best to accept it graciously and drink responsibly.

Dining and Drinking Together

In Korea, drinking often accompanies a meal. It is customary to wait for the eldest or most senior person to initiate the first drink before others can begin. During the meal, it is considered polite to pour drinks for others and engage in lively conversations.

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