Swap Out Vodka In Your Next Cocktail With The World's Best-Selling Spirit

While the world's best-selling spirits include recognizable Diageo-owned brands such as Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka, for over two decades, the number one spot has gone to the HiteJinro-owned Chamisul soju. South Koreans go through billions of bottles per year — pairing shots with anju, the Korean bar food, or drinking them at Korean BBQ or simply during a night out. Chamisul soju is most often chilled and consumed straight or in Somaek, South Korea's popular cocktail that combines beer and soju.

Given its transparency and nearly flavorless palate akin to vodka, Chamisul soju also works well in other mixed drinks. The booze is often combined into a straightforward creation alongside fruit juice and sour mix, but it can also be swapped into an extensive range of vodka cocktails. Mix the liquor into a unique take on the grapefruit-based greyhound cocktail, or even create a soju martini. Additionally, HiteJinro's soju offerings have lower alcohol content, ranging from 13% to 24% ABV, which aids in crafting several rounds.

Reach for Jinro soju for lower-alcohol fruity cocktails

If you're wondering what soju actually is, we're here to help. Traditionally, it's a distilled rice spirit, but alcohol production with the grain was banned for much of the 20th century, so producers turned to starches like tapioca and barley. HiteJinro continues such a mixed-base distillation, producing nearly a dozen soju types, including some with fruit flavors or others designed to be extra smooth.

HiteJinro's soju melds well with simple, often sweet drinks. Combinations in Korea include pineapple juice, a soju screwdriver, and an energizing coffee soju pairing. For seamless cocktail substitutions, turn to popular drinks mixed with vodka, like fruit juices and sodas.

It's worth noting that Chamisul soju's lower alcohol content will affect mixology. With bottles containing around half the alcohol of vodka, the liquor won't offer the body necessary in stirred drinks and as a standalone ingredient in spritzes. Thankfully, there's a rejuvenated movement of rice-based distillation, bringing back full-proof soju offerings. If you're planning on giving it a try, turn to our round-up of the best soju brands to make the tastiest cocktails at home.