Korean 1000: Soju, the Best Way to Enjoy Korean Culture.

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Have you ever drank Soju with Korean guys? Many Koreans loves drinking and dancing called Um-Joo-Ga-Mu(음주가무) in Korean word as old traditional saying since Korean ancestors enjoyed poem and music thousand-hundred year ago; moreover, Korean’s unique drinking cultures stand to tie Korean people together for fun and social relationship.

Some people from outside of Korea might say that drinking soju in Korean culture looks ritual or something like religious ceremony because Korean people have so many rules and ways for drinking Soju. In other words, if you know how to drink Soju in Korean way, it means you are already admitted to get into Korean culture. Soju is Korean traditional hard-liquor like Russian’s Vodka and Japanese’s Sake, but it is very cheap, costing approximately around $1 to $3 per bottle in Korea, so Soju is Korean’s best favorite alcohol, which gives perfect taste especially when you eat Korean BBQ. In the U.S. Soju price goes up high as an imported goods, but Korean people can’t get over from drinking Soju even in the U.S. (You can buy Soju (Jinro) in Columbia, Missouri at HyVee!)
Do you know why Korean people is addicted to drink Soju? Drinking culture is an important component in Korea society to have good relationship with people or to get close with new people, based on Confusion ideas. Korea has the unique tradition that young people should respect seniors or their parents by using specially designed honorific words and manners. This way of social code is shown in the drinking culture as well, which builds strong relationship. If you follow ways from below linked video or general instruction I wrote, I swear to god that all Korean people around you would like you so much immediately! This is basic step as an essential rule, respecting people older than you by using proper ways of drinking soju, showing them respects.

Here is general instruction:
1. Use both hands to hold a Soju glass to receive a shot from old people. (Using one hand in Korea looks rude)
2. Always check all glasses to not be empty. (Empty means you do not care so much)
3. Do not pour your shot. If you’re not youngest person among a group of people, your glass would not be dried up like Step 2. (Koreans do not drink Soju alone or pour soju for his/her self)
4. Do not refill other’s glasses until they finish their shot (Refilling unfinished glass is only allowed for dead people;;;)
5. Drinking starts by suggesting toast. Do not drink your shot before toast.
6. First shot must be “One Shot” (Finish the first shot at once, highly recommend)
7. If you’re younger than others, others will pay your bill. (It’s Korean culture~! Lucky!)
Moreover, Korean’s social values, such as hard-working and collectivism, play as active role for powerful social-drive, so drinking soju with many people is a usual scene after sunset or work. Drinking culture is very fun and active as social value does. “Work hard, play hard” is so true, applying for all around Korea peninsula.

Soju is strong liquor, containing 25% alcohol per bottle (Regular size: 360ml = 12oz) and should be stored in a refrigerator as cold as possible before drinking. This makes for smooth and happy drinking. If you go to Korea, you’ll see frozen Sojus and glasses in refrigerators.

icy cold soju
Because Soju is sometimes too strong to drink, Korean people also love to drink So-Maek, which is made up by mixing Soju + Maek-Joo (=beer). Putting a soju glass into a beer glass is a popular way to make So-Maek(소맥). For entertaining purpose, various ways to make So-Maek are used for better taste and fun.

Best So-Maek receipt
1. Prepare icy cold larger beer and Soju
2. Mix 1/3 amount of Soju based on Soju glass and ½ amount of beer based on beer glass
3. Stir So-Maek followed by your own way (This step is important part! If you have no idea, watch posted videos)
If you like to know Korean culture or plan to go to Korea or Korean town,
all you need to do is starting to drink “SOJU” and “So-Maek”!

Don’t forget Drink responsibly and legally (21+)!
Thank you for reading my posting.

“Sturm” time in Austria

Picture by: oesterreich.pbworks

“Sturm” time is very popular in Austria during the fall.  Sturm is also know as “Suser, Sauser, Neuer Süßer, or Junger Wein (young wine) in Southwest Germany, Switzerland and South Tyrol.” Others may know it as Federweißer.

Sturm is a popular alcoholic beverage and marks the beginning of autumn and the harvest season for many locals.

The drink usually has a low alcohol content of 4%, but some areas make the drink much stronger where it can be up to 10% of alcohol by volume. It all depends on what region it’s from.  Sturm is made of grapes that are fermented into alcohol. Fermentation is a process that can take up to a month until the liquid refreshment is perfected.  After it reaches the alcohol content you want, it can then be sold.

Picture: BilderBox

Picture: handwerk-magazin

This time is very popular for individuals because the wine must be consumed quickly, since it is only on sale for a few weeks in the fall.  The drink cannot be preserved, and if you buy a bottle of it, it comes without a cork because it is still fermenting.  Usually people attend festivals or restaurants where the drink can be bought and celebrated.

Sturm comes in white or red, and because of the high sugar content and carbonation, some may not be able to taste the alcohol in the beverage.  This time can be compared to Oktoberfest in Germany, because Sturm time is just as popular in Austria.

Here is also a blog, where a writer writes about her experience with Sturm.