Soju, Maekju, Somaek & Cojinganmek!

Gosh, only three blog posts in the November month for me! Whatever happened to the blogger who used to blog practically everyday, and sometimes, more than once a day?



Yea, back when I used to blog, I blogged really ferociously. So prolific I was that there were even days when I churned out three to five posts in a single day.

Beats me where I found so much stuff to rant and ramble about. (And the energy! What fueled me, man?!!) Haha, maybe age has indeed found out where I live and caught up. Or, maybe I just ain’t as sensitive about things no more. Or, maybe there’re so so so many content creators these days I don’t even have time to consume all the reading that I wanna, let alone churn my own contents.

It’s almost strange how we now enjoy such advanced technology and progress that productivity has improved in LTE speed, and yet many of us don’t find ourselves with any more free time and ‘me‘ time.


Read this rather interesting article on WHY THE THREE-HOUR WORK DAYS HAVEN’T HAPPENED YET. I think point 3 is super valid, that there’s no limit to human desires, which I also link to the FOMO syndrome.


And oh, instant messaging apps, social media platforms, etc etc etc, definitely ain’t helping at all. Everything and in fact everyone, too, are so invisible and everything’s so instantaneous, so online there’s no escaping. Accessibility is enhanced so much that we remain contactable no matter where and when. Everyone is really just a data plan away.

Then I realised that most part of the problem is me.

It is me who sometimes allow myself to work on someone else’s schedule. Just because someone’s email or message comes in at that time does not have to mean that I have to drop everything and attend to the incoming item all the time, ya?



Always differentiate between what’s important and urgent, and what’s important but not urgent.

Hahahaha, and I’d thought that at this age, I’d already mastered the art of not being bothered when I don’t think I wanna or should be bothered.


Anyway, I digressed… Wanna share a little tidbit before I get on to the blog post proper. I was looking up search strings for this blog just to have a feel of how some people end up here. Here, check this out.



Interesting… Other than those of you who already ‘know’ me, seems like people have found their way here coz of (korean) food and Song Jae Rim!

Haha, guess they must be pretty disappointed huh? This ain’t a Korean-centric blog or Kdrama or Kpop blog. This is just my personal blog, oopsies!


Anyway, back to what I wanna blog about today! Me gonna yak about soju (소주) and maekju (믹주) today!

I’ve already blogged about MAKGEOLLI previously, so I reckon I should also touch on soju a little.



Soju is almost like a way of life in Korea. It’s cheap and it’s everywhere. In Korea, there’re some ‘definitive’ products that celebs cover the endorsement contracts for, and the fight to front soju brands is particularly intense. Why? Coz like I’d said soju features very very prominently in the everyday lives of many Koraens.

In fact, I would go so far as to describe soju as Korea’s national liquor. Helps that it’s very cheap (like less than S$2) and available everywhere.

Soju is a clear alcohol traditionally made from rice and typically containing some 20% alcohol by volume. Yea, super potent, so do drink with care. The effects of this particular booze burn rather slowly, and if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself suddenly hit with wooziness.



Well, you can just pour it into a shotglass and drink, hehe!

The Koreans appear to have some pretty sticky rules about drinking, and I’d blogged about basic Korean drinking etiquette HERE. But hey, we’re foreigners, so we don’t really have to bother with these things much, it’s really more like knowledge for fun.

But I do like how the Koreans don’t pour their own drinks. Usually the maknae or most junior in rank will keep an active lookout of whose glasses are empty and help to refill. If pouring for or receiving drinks from someone older or more senior than you, use both hands.

Oh, I’ve had someone asked me twice this week alone how the Koreans say ‘cheers‘, as in what do they say when they clink glasses. They say ‘Gun bae‘ (乾杯) or ‘Zzang!’




Sometimes someone at the table may shout ‘One shot!’ and what usually happens next is that everyone will raise their glasses and drink up, all in a single shot. You might even see some turn their glasses upside down above their heads to show that they’ve downed everything.

Yup, their ‘One shot‘ in equivalent to our ‘Bottoms up‘.

And oh, for the immensely curious amongst you, a bottle of soju fills seven and a half shot glasses.



Although soju is often consumed straight (yea, neat), it is also sometimes used in mixers as the base spirit, as with many clear liquors.

The most common one is to mix soju and beer. Beer is maekju (믹주) in Korean, and when soju and maekju come together, you get so-maek (소맥)

Don’t hold me to it, but it’s been said the golden proportion is 3 parts soju 7 parts beer. That way, you don’t get too much soju until you miss the beer, nor do you drink all beer and there’s no crispy bite of soju.

The easy way to prepare this is to pour soju into a beer glass and then pour the beer and drink up.

But hey, a slightly more fanciful way is to do it this way, with lotsa happy shake ^o^



Now some of you might have heard about soju bombs, or what the Koreans refer to as poktanju (폭탄주). That translates literally into Bomb Drink (ju is alcoholic drink),

This is a variation of maekju where a shotglass of soju is dropped into a glass or mug of beer, like dropping a bomb.



Some people also refer to this as the Seoul Train Soju Bomb. Basically, it’s a row or rows or some formation of the soju bomb, but done such that the shot glasses of soju sit on the rim of adjacent glasses of beer and they’re dropped a la the domino effect.

Messy yes, but lotsa fun and excitement, hehe! So, my advice is to do it when you’re outside and not at your own home!


In case you’re wondering where you can order a soju bomb train here in Singapore, you can try BOSS BBQ AT CLARKE QUAY.

Hehe, we tried it once there!




Or just go to any Korean restaurants and order soju and beer and do your own soju bombs!



Wanna share with you something that was introduced to me a couple of years back when we were on the ONGO FOOD TOUR. Yea, I know, I know, we’ve been to Seoul like sooooo many times and yet we decided to join a food tour… Hee, but it was plenty fun!



First things first, the name.

Literally, Cojinganmek (구징안픽) means sweetness comes at the end of bitterness. Yes, what the Chinese says 苦盡甘來. Should be easy to guess by now that the drink is harsh and tough at first, but ends with a sweet note, ya?

Nice to remind us once in a while that we have to go through the bad things or tough times first, before the good stuff or good news will come.

Here, a superb graphical depiction of Cojinganmek from GELO REYES



I really really really like this!

It’s basically a mix of one part cola, one part soju and one part beer. Its name is superbly apt for a drink that starts with the rougher taste of somaek, before finishing sweetly with a shot of cola.

imageThere are different ways to prepare this drink, but you will definitely need two shotglasses and one beer glass or mug. My own experience is the smallish beer glass works best.

You can pour a shot of cola first, drop it into the beer glass, then pour soju into the second shot glass and drop it on top of the first soju glass, and then fill the glass with beer.


Or you can do this, I think it’s less fuss this way. Drop the first (empty) shot glass into the beer glass, then pour the cola, and then drop the second (empty) shot glass on top of the first shot glass of cola, then pour the soju, and then finish off by pouring beer into the glass.

Yup, the difference between the two methods is whether you pour the cola and soju into the glasses first before dropping them into the glass. I think the second method is less messy as the drinks won’t splash as much, haha!


If that’s too much for you to read or digest, just watch this clip! And of course, you can substitute the cola with some other sweet carbonated drink.



And there’re also the other more slushy or fruity soju cocktails, like yogurt soju, watermelon soju, pineapple soju, apple soju, etc etc etc.

You can try them when you’re in Korea, or hehe, you can also check out CHICKEN UP.


Shall leave you with this mighty impressive and entertaining clip of how one guy does his somaek! And hehe, the part where he popped open the beer bottle cap with the spoon? Ahhh… the long-buried Joongbo feels came rushing back!



Added 2014.12.19
Guys, THIS is a handy guide to drinking etiquette if you’re going drinking in Korea!
One comment Add yours

Leave a Reply