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How Should Soju Be Served?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

Are you going out for a drink and don’t know how to serve soju? Well, many people don’t and the ones that do, do it the wrong way.

Every time someone goes for a drink and orders soju, they often don’t know how to serve it.

Soju should always be served cold in a shot glass. This is the right way of drinking soju ever since the 1900s. The appropriate way of serving soju is by using both hands and turning your head while drinking.

In this article, I’ll explain how soju should be served, drink straight out of the bottle, and more.

Let’s get started.

Is Soju Served Warm or Cold?

Soju is served cold. Generally speaking, soju should never be drunk warm. Drinking warm soju may cause a huge loss of flavor.

Drinking soju warm is never heard of. No one does that not even in traditional Korean culture. However, for every person is a different need.

Therefore there are people that serve soju warm, but it’s 0.01% out of a million people. if you’re going out for a drink and drink warm soju it’ll ruin the mood.

Don’t do that and always ask for cold soju. Cold soju is the best and tastiest way to drink.

Do You Drink Soju Straight Out of The Bottle?

Drinking soju can be done straight out of the bottle. However, don’t do it if there are elderly people around you. This can be seen as very disrespectful.

Only drink soju straight out of the bottle if you’re home alone. Don’t even do it when you have guests over. Drinking soju bottles is for some people a sign of alcohol problems.

If there’s more than one person in the room. You’re not allowed to drink soju straight out of the bottle. Always use a shot glass when drinking.

Do You Sip or Shoot Soju?

When drinking soju you need to shoot, drinking soju should be done with a shot glass. Therefore you have to shoot and not sip.

Sipping soju is only done on rare occasions when people are laid back. They don’t shoot soju and enjoy it.

However, everyone has different ways of drinking soju. There’s no right way of drinking, some people sip while others shoot.

Depending on what others do and what you prefer. Do whatever feels good for you. I normally shoot soju because you get that burning after taste.

Many soju brands promote soju by shooting and not sipping. If you’ve ever been to a Korean restaurant you’ll see almost everyone shooting soju.

The first shot is always the most bitter. After that, it’ll get easier and you can even mix soju.

If you’re mixing soju, then it’s better to sip.

Interesting Facts about Soju

Here are some interesting facts about soju.

Why Can’t You Pour Your Own Soju?

You can’t pour soju on your own because it’s a sign of disrespect.

In traditional Korean culture, when someone brings you soju, you can’t pour your own shot, no matter how much you want to.

You have to wait till the other person pours for you first. This is a sign of respect and politeness. Don’t pour your own soju and wait to get poured first.

As a foreigner, you might not know this, but it’s typically served with very traditional Korean dishes. When you eat with locals they’ll pour your shot first.

Some popular Korean foods that go well with soju are:

  • Korean BBQ
  • Tteokbokki
  • Korean fried chicken
  • Sundae (blood sausage)

These are the most popular foods people eat with soju.

How Much Soju Do You Pour?

When you’re pouring soju for another person do it until the shot glass is about 80% full.

This means you pour soju all the way to 80% of the shot glass. Fill it up too much and it’s also disrespectful, but you should never do that.

Never let the shot glass overflow, this will also show disrespect to the person.

4 Soju Rules You Must Follow

Here are some soju rules you must follow when drinking.

1. Never serve yourself soju

Never serve yourself soju, always wait for someone to pour you a shot.

2. Hold the shot glass with both hands

When you’re drinking a shot with someone else. Hold the glass with both hands and turn your head while drinking. Especially if it’s a senior.

3. Always drink your first glass in one shot

Always drink your first glass in one shot. This starts the conversation the best, it’s something that everyone does. And has since become a traditional soju rule.

4. When drinking with a senior let them serve you

When drinking with a senior always let them serve you first. They automatically do this and you should never refuse.


All in all, soju should be served cold. It’s a tradition that all older people follow and you should respect that.

If you’re drinking with someone be careful that they don’t serve you too much. Drink slowly and enjoy your soju.

Now you know the rules of soju. Don’t forget them and enjoy soju with others!

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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