Moving Past Somaek

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Andy 4 years ago. This post has been viewed 1232 times

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  • #1451

    Andy
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    • Total Posts: 103

    Back in the day, when somaek (소맥) was simply called poktanju (폭탄주 – bomb liquor) it was an exciting drink. But that was over a decade ago now, and times have changed. It is possible now to buy decent beer in Korea, and the price of hard liquor has dropped, so the idea of mixing soju and beer is no longer exciting. Imagine my surprise then, when I was on a group trip this past weekend and noticed people drinking somaek at dinner. Surely they were just being anachronistic, I thought. But after asking about it, no, they were just happy to drink that way.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I generally add a slug of soju to every beer I drink – because I am a degenerate – but I don’t make a production out of it. So I got to thinking, maybe they just don’t know any better.

    Fortunately for you, I do. About a year and a half ago I was talking to a student about my drinking habits, specifically about how as I get older I drink less and have mixed feelings about my waning desires. I admitted that I rarely drank soju anymore because it made me drunk too fast and caused me to fall asleep. Instead, I said, I preferred makkulli.

    As the conversation continued, I told him that while I generally avoided soju, I would add a shot to the occasional beer I had. He then proceeded to blow my mind by asking why I didn’t sweeten the makkulli pot with a couple ounces of liquid lightning. At first I was aghast! No, you can’t do that, I said. I quickly changed my position. Can you? I mean I am an adult, I can do what I want, right? My world got a little bigger that day, friends. And I started drinking somak* (소막).

    Once I learned this I started scouring Naver and talking to other people about the drinks they drink and a whole cocktail world opened its doors to me. I learned of tons of drinks, soju and ice cream, maehwasu and soju top to top, 50 year liquor (OK that’s an old one). But let’s stick to the makkulli here, because (a) I like it and (b) it is what is sitting in front of me right now.

    While discussing different drink mixes, some students mentioned a drink, maksosa (막소사), or makkulli, soju, cider. It intrigued me because not only do I like all the ingredients, but I usually have all three around the house, so I can try it in my spare time.

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    So, tonight after I got back from my evening run I decided to mix one up. Since I have to work tomorrow I decided to Naver up a recipe rather than trust my hand and found this blog that claims the perfect recipe is 6:3:1 makkulli, cider, soju. It seemed just about right for a night where I have to work in the morning, and honestly it is pretty refreshing after a long run. Not something I would drink in a party night, but at brunch or on a hot day it would hit the spot. Of course, you could always pour it 4:3:3, and that would liven the night right up, but like I said, I have to work in the morning.

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    *In my opinion a good mix is 6 makkulli : 4 soju / 7 makkulli : 3 soju. If you go much lighter than that, what’s the point?

  • #1457
    DrKnow
    DrKnow
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    • Total Posts: 494

    It seemed just about right for a night where I have to work in the morning, and honestly it is pretty refreshing after a long run. Not something I would drink in a party night, but at brunch or on a hot day it would hit the spot.

    To be honest, it sounds quite a bit on the disgusting side to me, even though I like all three ingredients separately. But I don’t like 소맥, which is the ruination of a perfectly good shot of soju and a pint of beer. To me, it’s first one, then the other.

    Also, I don’t mind those flavored sojus, though apparently that makes me somewhat less of a man. But refreshing is a stretch.

    • #1472

      Andy
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      • Total Posts: 103

      We could compromise and drink all three. It isn’t like we are about to run out of soju.

      Anyway, I tried the maksosa again and still have basically the same opinion of it. A bit sweet, but not bad. I doubt I will drink any more, though.

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