In Korea, drinking isn’t just a leisurely activity. It’s part of the culture, used to celebrate meals with family, creating rituals passed down over centuries.
These long-standing traditions helped preserve the drinking culture while inspiring these Korean cocktails.
Many of these drinks include soju, a spirit traditionally drunk neat. However, it can be successfully incorporated into cocktails as well.
The spirit’s subtly sweet flavor varies but usually adds a pleasant bite when mixed in drinks.
Korean Yogurt Soju Cocktail
This example of Korean cocktails presents one of the most popular and traditional options for enjoying soju. The spirit is shaken with an Asian yogurt drink and ice. A lemon-lime soda adds more sweetness and contrasting citrus flavor. The cocktail’s creamy consistency and refreshing taste make it a warm-weather favorite.
The Seoul Mule
Though this recipe requires planning, the refreshing taste makes the process well worth the effort. Infuse ginger into soju by letting the spirit sit on top of the sliced root for one week. The robust flavors from the spirit contrast with citrusy yet subtly sweet yuzu juice. Top with alcoholic ginger beer and serve.
Korean Iced Green Tea
Incorporate the complex botanical flavor of green tea into a simple syrup to make these Korean cocktails. Mix the sweetener with soju to create this potent yet sweet drink. A few slices of lemon add a few bright citrus notes, bringing a balance that makes this iced tea so tasty.
This cocktail combines a Korean spirit with a popular Brazilian cocktail, creating something new yet familiar. Like a traditional Caipirinha, the drink uses lime and sugar, balancing out heat and bite from the liquor. Sujo replaces the cachaça in the classic, giving the cocktail a different character with sweet, crisp notes.
Kimchi Gibson Cocktail
Kimchi plays a quintessential role in Korean cuisine. This cocktail celebrates the ingredient, incorporating it in an unexpected way, taking inspiration from the classic Gibson cocktail. Two types of gin add botanical bitterness that melds together with the herbaceous cilantro-infused vermouth. A small amount of white kimchi juice gives this cocktail its unique flavor.
You can pair nearly any spirit with simple syrup and citrus to create an easy-to-make, refreshing cocktail. The Sour Seol combines soju with these elements. Lemon juice brings out the sharpness of the spirit in this cocktail, while sweeteners elevate the subtler notes of the soju. These simple cocktails make for an excellent introduction to soju.
Mango Melona Soju Cocktail
This Korean cocktail uses a mango-flavored variety of soju, providing the first fruity element to the drink. Furthermore, a Korean ice cream bar also flavored like the fruit adds another layer to entice your palate and creates the cocktail’s slushy consistency. Completing the recipe is citrus soda, which adds bubbles and more sweetness, making this an excellent dessert option when the weather is warm.
Strawberry Soju Cocktail with Basil and Ginger
This complex cocktail has a delicate balance of many elements that make it one of the tastiest Korean cocktails. A small amount of salt cuts through the tart and fruity flavors of the strawberries. Sweeter elements of the Soju enhance the herbaceous character of the basil, creating contrasting notes to the heat of the ginger in the drink.
This cocktail contains another traditional beverage, Makgeolli, a Korean rice wine. You can purchase the wine, or if it's unavailable in your area, follow the recipe’s instructions for making it. Combine the Makgeolli with classic margarita ingredients to create a complex variation with mellow, fruity notes like banana.
Follow this recipe to craft one of the most refreshing Korean cocktails. Blend fresh cucumbers and mint to make a juice with a crisp character and distinct herbal notes. These elements pair perfectly with soju. A lime simple syrup adds citrus notes while giving the cocktail the right amount of sweetness.
These Korean cocktails draw inspiration from traditions in the country and around the world.
Many provide new takes on drinks you may already be familiar with, while others open new ways to enjoy a refreshing cocktail.
If we missed your favorite cocktail from or inspired by Korea, let us know in the comments below!
10 Korean Cocktail Recipe Ideas
- Pick your favorite recipe
- Gather all the needed ingredients
- Prep a tasty cocktail in less than 5 minutes
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