How do Korean people crack open a cold bottle of soju? From the look of it, by observing what they do in a pojangmacha 포장마차 scene from K-dramas or the patrons getting tipsy at a K-town restaurant, one can conclude that there’s a pretty complicated ritual involved with opening the iconic green bottle of soju!
But what’s the logic behind it? Soju is clear liquor just like vodka and for that, it doesn’t contain anything else like other flavored liqueurs like Baileys Irish Cream or Kahlua, so no point in burning up the precious calories you worked so hard to gain, right?
Well, contrary to the convenient screw caps used for soju bottles nowadays, corkscrews were the norm, just like wine bottles. And we know what happens to them when they are not stored properly – they get all dried up and become crumbly, leaving unwanted cork pieces inside the drink (hey, but they are fiber)!
So in order to remove them, people made a point of shaking and swirling the bottle to get the residue to float to the top, then pull out the cork, and finally splash out the impurities by either pouring it out or giving it a nice chop with the hand blade.
As the corkscrewed soju bottles have gone extinct and metal screw caps are what’s keeping the bottles tightly sealed, the rituals are pointless, but the rituals still live on (even many Korean people don’t know why they do it). What do you think? Personally, I think it’s what makes drinking soju more fun!
Now you know how to open a cold bottle of soju. Here’s a quick Korean soju flair show lesson for your next soju outing!