Did you know that South Korea is the world’s most alcoholic nation? We drink more than twice as much as Russia.
Well, let me tell you a little bit about drinking culture in South Korea, and some of the bomb drinks we have that contribute to our prized drunkards.
This is Korea’s most popular alcoholic drink. It is chemically based, consisting of ethanol and water, ranges from 14-45% alcohol by volume, tastes like crap, and is lethal. This motherhugger stays true to its Asian roots and sneaks up on you like a ninja so bad you’re gonna want to hug a mother. One moment you’re having a great time with friends, laughing over soju shots in a jovial manner. You excuse yourself from the table in order to break the seal, stand up and then BAM! it slams you right in the tolerance when you least expect it, and you can kiss your memory good night.
Makgeolli is another alcoholic drink native to Korea, and is a rice-based wine. You can find unique bars in Korea totally dedicated to the drink, as it comes in many different types and flavours. It’s also usually the choice of drink (alongside soju) when you go out with your co-workers and boss afterhours. Drinking with the people you work with is an extremely common practice in South Korea, so if you’re a raging alcoholic, you might as well buy yourself a Korean-English dictionary, a plane ticket, and set up camp over here, because you probably won’t get fired for drunkenly vomiting in front of your boss. #TeamBonding.
- The notorious Bacardi 151
Now, let me tell you something. When I came back to the UK after 8 years of living in Korea, I was stunned to discover that it is illegal to sell shots of alcohol that exceed the 40% mark in bars. In South Korea, we take Bacardi 151 shots. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this type of rum, these bad boys contain 75% alcohol by volume, and they do not go down without a fight. You’re going to have to hold on to the edge of the table to steady yourself after taking a hit of one of these, and definitely do not take a breath until about 30 seconds after you swallow. Trust me. As a (half) Korean, I can probably take a couple of these, plus a couple glasses of whiskey on the rocks, plus a Suicide Bomb (one shot of tequila, followed by a shot of Amaretto mixed with 151 and some other liquor dropped into a glass of Guinness) and have a good-ass night. You, as a non-Korean, will probably be passed out on the floor.
Why is South Korea the most alcoholic nation in the world? I am still not sure, but I am sure these drinks do not help. Though I have listed some of our most infamous drinks, and stated why we are so badass (or idiotic) for having them, drinking in Korea is actually a bonding practice that can be enjoyed responsibly and looked back upon, not as a night of drunken vice and revelry, but as a means for deepening relationships and forming life-long memories… Key word, here: can.
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