It’s beer, right? Of course, chances are you sell beer in your restaurant. You may have it limited to the main domestic beers, you might have ventured into a few international varieties, and if you’re a responsible part of your community, you’ll be featuring many of the local craft brews that originate from your region and local cities. You might even give out pint glasses on a slow night to increase people shopping at your restaurant.
No, no, we’re going classier. We’re talking “the most popular alcoholic drink in the world”, so beer might be a little limited to anglo-saxon worlds. Could it be wine? Touted for its health benefits over time, alongside religious connotations for many, it might have less people drinking it, and command a higher price, but it might just be more frequently consumed, and even more acceptable.
Not wine? Could it be vodka? It’s easily produced, frequently available all over the world, and the perfect mixture drink. This has worldwide appeal, variety and versatility, and might just be the drink of choice.
Actually, no. You might not have even heard of it.
Hailing from South Korea, Soju is the most popular drink in the world. The Guardian reports that Jinro Soju is at the top of Drinks International’s annual list of best-selling alcoholic drinks globally.
Have you ever had soju? Best described (and best made) as a rice wine, it’s traditionally served neat, and traditionally runs from 16.7% to 45% alcohol by volume. Hailing from Korea, the high consumption of the drink may be attributed to its low cost in South Korea, and is now exported to 80 countries. While it might be 97% of the alcohol sold in that country, it doesn’t have as large of a domination in America or otherwise.
While the standard soju is mellow and smooth enough to pair with many dishes (or go down on its own), it’s easy to infuse the drink with various fruit flavorings. If you want to infuse it with beer, that’s called a “Somac”, and you might have to take a few tries to figure out the ratio you’d like.
There are a few unique rules when it comes to soju.
- When receiving a glass, hold the glass with the left palm on the bottom, the right hand holding the side, with a slight bow of the head.
- When drinking, turn away from others and cover your mouth and glass.
- When pouring, hold the bottle with your right hand, supporting your right arm with your left hand holding the elbow.
- Never pour your own glass.
- Don’t refill your glass until it is empty.
There’s no official glass for drinking soju, but shot glasses, tumblers, rocks glasses, and mixing glasses would all be fair enough; there’s no need for cocktail or wine glasses. The larger glasses would be appropriate if mixing; given the strength of the drink, smaller glasses are best for drinking it straight.
Given the international domination of the drink, you might just want to see about stocking it in your restaurant.