The World's Most Popular Liquor Is...

... soju, a Korean spirit that Psy calls his 'best friend'

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 7, 2013 7:59 AM CST

(Newser) – Vodka and tequila, head to the back of the bar. The world's most popular liquor is a South Korean spirit called soju, which has topped a best-selling-drink list for years and sold 65 million cases on this year's list alone, the Guardian reports. It's made from barley, wheat, or rice—or other starches like potatoes or tapioca—and is loved partly because its alcohol content often hovers around 25% ... perfect for a few refills without passing out. Bars from London to New York to San Francisco are hawking soju drinks, often with sweet fruit flavors to make them go down easy.

Traditionalists can enjoy it with Korean foods like the fish-and-rice cake tteokpokki or salted shrimp. "Soju is often drunk with jokbal, which is pork trotter cooked in a seasoned, well-flavored broth," says a Korean chef. "It also goes well with bossam—steamed pork wrapped in a red lettuce leaf with garlic, peppers and kimchi." And beer-lovers can get into somac—ways of mixing beer with soju, like covering your blend with a tissue before slapping and swirling it into a "Hurricane." Koreans like to hurl the wet napkin at the ceiling to see if it sticks! For more on soju, check out a Psy video that helped make it popular.

A bottle of soju.
A bottle of soju.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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