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A Little Bit of Soju

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jun 10, 2008 6:00PM


One can't have a hearty Korean dinner — or even sushi — without a bracing serving of soju. It's clear color and clean flavor is comparable to vodka, except for a slightly sweeter taste resulting from the addition of sugar in the distilling process.

The first recorded distilling of soju happened around 1300 when the Mongols, who had learned to distill arak (an anise-based liqueur) from the Persians. Soju is distilled using rice, but other starches may be added such as barley, wheat, potato, yam and tapioca. Because of its clean flavor, soju lends itself well to infusions (you're looking at cucumber soju here from Kohan in University Village). The shot glasses used to serve soju are part of an traditional etiquette ritual that honors and defers to one's elders, a custom still practiced in larger group settings today.