How To Drink Soju The Right Way

Soju and chicken go hand in hand!
By: Cherelle Lim
December 17, 2021

If you are obsessed with everything Korean, you are bound to be sucked into the whirlwind of soju! One of the most famous alcoholic drinks in Korea, soju is world-famous as well. With quite a selection of flavours to choose from, it is quite a strong drink as well. Soju is also considered the vodka of Korea, although it has a lower alcohol content percentage than vodka. Despite that, it is still well-known to get you drunk in just a few shots. From the delicious K-drama eating scenarios paired with the yummiest Korean chicken, we have fallen in love. Although it gets us hungry as we watch, don’t underestimate the power of soju. So, ditch all the glitz and glamorous settings of K-drama, and let us show you how to drink soju the right way. 

Why We Drink


Despite what many think, most adults don’t drink to get drunk. We drink to socialise. Drinking alcohol such as soju is a way for us to bond with one another. Drinking soju is also an important part of Korean culture. Soju is a clear distilled spirit that has a neutral taste. Soju is also mainly made from different kinds of grains. In other countries such as Singapore, there would be no proper way to actually drink. 

Typically, you would just call a few buddies to drink and catch up. In Korea however, the traditional way of drinking is by having the senior of the group pour first. While the younger or youngest receives the drink. In Korea, there is also proper etiquette in receiving soju. Soju is usually received in a shot glass with both of your hands. If you are younger than everybody else, you would have to face away to drink. This is because turning away is a sign of respect. 

How To Drink Soju Correctly

Opening The Bottle


For the best flavour, you should be serving your soju cold and neat. Be sure to chill your bottle of soju in the fridge for a few hours before drinking. There is also no need for ice as soju is served in a shot glass, meaning it is only a small pour. 

Swirl The Soju Bottle 


Swirling the soju bottle creates a whirlpool inside it. To ensure you create the perfect whirlpool, hold the bottle near the bottom and swirl it rigorously in a circular motion. 2 to 3 seconds should be enough to create a whirlpool effect inside the bottle. Dating back to the olden days, this act is meant to bring sediments back to the top of the bottle. 

Slap The Soju Bottle’s Butt

Before twisting off the cap, slap the bottom of the bottle with your palm. With one hand, hold the bottle’s neck while the other slaps the bottom firmly. After a good few slaps, then you should twist off the cap. If it hurts too much to slap with your palm, you can also use your elbow! Most have said that this method is used to break up sediments in the bottle. 

Jabbing The Bottle’s Neck

To do so, spread your index and middle finger To jab the bottleneck. Be sure to hold the bottle firmly with your other hand before jabbing the neck. If you are doing it right and with enough force, a bit of soju should splash out of the bottle. 

Pouring & Drinking Shots

As we mentioned before, the eldest is meant to pour the soju while the youngest receives it. Depending on how many people are in the group, of course, the eldest will pour each person a shot. When that is done, a member of the group will use two hands to pour the eldest a drink. As a sign of respect. 

Another way of showing respect is to use both hands to hold the bottle as you serve. Especially when serving elders and even people slightly older than you. It is also important to note that you should fill everyone else’s glass first before filing your own. As mentioned before, you should use both hands when receiving your soju drinks. Usually, after the first round, elders can use one hand instead of two to receive their soju.

Playing Soju Games

Flick The Cap

After opening up a new bottle of soju, you can play a game of flick the cap. This is one of the most popular drinking games too. Once you remove the cap of the bottle, twist the end of the seal to stiffen it up. With this game, each person takes turns flicking the cap. The person to flick the end piece off the cap wins. While the others will have to drink.


To pass the time, play a game of Titanic instead. First, you need to fill a drinking glass halfway with beer. Next, take your shot glass and carefully put it into the beer glass. Once it floats, have everyone take turns pouring. The person who sinks the shot glass loses and must drink the solution. The beer and soju solution is also called somaek.


For a group of 4 and more, you can play a game of noonchi. In order to start the game, just shout out “noonchi game 1” at any point. Then, random members of the group will take turns counting in sequence until you reach the total of members playing. The trick is that no one can say the same number at the same time. If it happens, all of the people who said the same number have to drink their shot of soju. If by some miracle everyone in the group makes it to the final number, the last person to say has to take a shot.