When I first started drinking alcohol, I was familiar with all the common types: vodka, whiskey, rum, gin, etc. It was only recently that I tried soju. I have to say that I have come to love this rice liquor.
Soju originates from Korea, and you make it with rice. It is a clear spirit that is usually around 20% alcohol by volume. Because it is so light and smooth, it is effortless to drink.
In fact, many describe it as being “dangerously drinkable.” It is traditionally served neat (without ice) and often chased with Yakult – a yogurt drink.
Soju is the perfect drink to pair with your favorite Korean dish or Korean BBQ.
Many different brands and types of soju are available, so it is not obvious to know which one to choose. To help you, I’ve put together a list of the best soju brands you should try.
1. Jinro Chamisul Fresh Soju
Jinro Chamisul Fresh Soju is by far the best soju that I have ever tried.
It is incredibly smooth and has a very light taste. There is almost no aftertaste, which makes it perfect for drinking neat.
Jinro Chamisul Fresh Soju is 17% ABV produced by Jinro Soju limited.
The bottles are typically 360ml. Unlike other brands of Soju, Jinro Soju only comes in a fresh flavor.
Jinro Chamisul Fresh Soju is pure rice alcohol without any flavors.
2. Chum Churum
Chum Churum is another excellent choice. It is slightly sweeter than Jinro Chamisul Fresh Soju but just as smooth. It also has a very light taste and is very easy to drink.
Chum Churum is 16.9% ABV, and Lotte Chum Churum produces it. Chum Churum comes in various flavors, including original, grapefruit, green grape, and blueberry, and the bottles are typically 375ml.
What makes Chum Churum unique is the alkaline water used to produce the soju.
The minerals give this soju a smoother flavor and finish, and I think it might be the best soju out there. It is undoubtedly one of my favorites.
3. West 32 Reserve
West 32 Reserve is an excellent option if you’re looking for something a little different.
It is made with 100% organic ingredients and is distilled using traditional methods. It contains no artificial sweetener or gluten.
West 32 Reserve is 18% ABV produced by West 32 Soju. The bottles are typically 375ml.
West 32 Reserve is an award-winning soju that is perfect for drinking neat or cocktails.
This soju is slightly less smooth than the other two brands on this list. However, it has a deeper flavor that I enjoy. It is also a bit more expensive than the other brands, but I think it is well worth it.
4. Good Day Soju
Good Day Soju is another excellent soju. It is very smooth and has a light, refreshing taste.
It is perfect for drinking neat. I love this type of soju, and I think it competes for the best soju available.
You make Good Day Soju with rice, wheat, and tapioca. It is 18% ABV, and Good Day Soju Co produces it in 360 or 500ml bottles.
It has floral and herbal notes and has fewer calories than vodka. It also has three different types of amino acids.
5. Soonhari Soju
Soonhari Soju is a great soju. It has a very light, smooth taste. There is almost no aftertaste, making it perfect for drinking neat.
Soonhari Soju is 18% ABV, and Seoul Soju produces it with 100% Korean rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and tapioca. The bottles are typically 375ml.
I think Soonhari Soju is one of the smoothest kinds of soju. The smoothness is a result of the triple distillation method used by Soonhari.
I enjoy this soju, and I also really like the different flavors it comes in. Some popular flavors are yogurt, peach, strawberry, apple, citrus, and apple mango. The apple, mango, and peach are my personal favorites.
6. Yobo Soju
Yobo Soju is among the most popular kinds of soju in the US.
It is one of the first brands of soju to be produced outside of Korea. Unfortunately, it is less popular internationally and can be challenging to find.
Yobo means “honey” or “darling” in Korean. Each sip evokes feelings of comfort and love.
Yobo Soju is 18% ABV, Yobo Soju Co produces it, and the bottles are typically 750ml.
You make Yobo Soju with a blend of rice and grapes grown in Northern California and finish with organic wheat.
The ingredients used in Yobo Soju are of the finest quality, and you can taste the difference. Yobo Soju is probably the highest quality soju on my list and competes to be the best soju.
7. Hwayo 41
Hwayo 41 is a unique type of soju. Unlike other types of soju on this list, You must age Hwayo 41 for at least six months.
The aging process gives Hwayo a richer flavor and taste than different types of soju. Additionally, it is a higher ABV and is over 40% alcohol.
There is some debate if Hwayo 41 is still soju given the higher ABV and the aging process. However, I believe the taste and distilling process is similar enough to consider it soju.
Hwayo 41 has a very smooth taste. It is not as sweet as other types of soju and has a bit of a burn because of the higher alcohol content.
Hwayo is best served neat or on the rocks; you should sip it like whiskey. This award-winning liquor has become quite popular in the last seven years. Hwayo Soju Co produces it, and the bottles are typically 750ml.
You make Hwayo 41 with a blend of rice, wheat, and barley. The rice is from Jeju Island in Korea, and the wheat and barley are from North America.
8. Saan Soju
Saan Soju is a very smooth soju. It has a light, refreshing taste and is perfect for drinking neat or on the rocks.
“Saan” means mountain in Korean, and this soju is distilled traditionally. It is one of the oldest kinds of soju available today.
Saan Soju is 18% ABV and is produced by Saan Soju Co. The bottles are typically 375ml. Saan Soju is made with 100% Korean rice and is distilled three times.
I enjoy this soju because it has a light, refreshing taste with a refreshing green tea finish.