If you're a fan of K-dramas, you've probably noticed Korean drinking habits. Most of them drink before, during, or after meals, and they have a drink for every age and occasion.

They drink when they're happy, and they also drink away their troubles, which is what most of us do as well. But if you’re tired of the same old red wine and root beer, try one of these Korean drinks with your next meal instead.

Soju

Soju is at the heart of Korean culture. Any list of Korean beverages is incomplete without Soju, as is a South Korean meal. This clear, distilled, rice-based drink is so popular in Korea that it accounts for 97% of the alcoholic beverage market. 

The alcoholic content in Soju varies from 16.8 % to 53%, which makes it stronger than most beers but lesser than Vodka. Interestingly, on average, South Koreans consume 13.7 shots of liquor per week, and almost all of this is Soju. In short, Soju has made South Koreans the heaviest drinkers in the world.

Makgeolli

This is a Korean rice wine that’s made from fermented rice, also known as Takju or opaque alcohol. This is because when you ferment rice to make alcohol, you get a clear alcohol part, which is the Chungju, and you get the Takju part, which is the opaque alcohol that contains the filtered remnants of the alcohol that give it the creamy color.

Although this drink was for the lower classes during the Joseon Dynasty, this creamy, sweet, and slightly fizzy beverage is a popular choice across the country even today. It comes in different flavors, including chestnut and pine nut flavors.

Milkis

Introduced in 1989 by Lotte Chilsung, this soft drink remains extremely popular in South Korea. It comes in different flavors besides the original, like apple, melon, grape, strawberry, and cherry.

It’s best defined as a fizzy, carbonated yogurt-based soda. 

Check out more of Lotte’s products here.

Banana Flavored Milk

As a milk-based drink, this is a shockingly addictive beverage and has remained popular since 1974, when it was first introduced to encourage a milk-drinking culture in South Korea to fight malnutrition. To this day, you will find these little milk bottles at every convenience store and in every vending machine in South Korea.

It also makes frequent appearances in popular K-Dramas like Boys Over Flowers, and they've also managed to get IU to advertise the drink—no wonder it’s so popular!

Sikhye

This is a more traditional drink and is usually drunk on festive holidays such as New Year’s or Chuseok. It’s a sweet tea brewed from cooked rice, sugar and barley malt. It’s best cold, and you can add ginger and jujube for an extra punch of flavor.

Interestingly, it was served to royals as an aperitif, but its moderately sweet taste is also perfect as a post-dinner drink.

If you’d like to explore some more Korean food and snack options, check and order here. And in the meanwhile, Geonbae!