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Allergy Friendly Korean Alcohol Guide

Korean Alcohol Guide

Soju, Fruit and Flower Wines

It is that time again!  The summer heat is in full effect and everyone will be looking for various activities to wash away the summer heat.  But what do you do if you want to enjoy Korean alcohol and you’ve food allergies?  

Since you can buy Soju at your local grocery store, online, or major retailers such as Target.  I want to share an allergy-friendly Korean alcohol guide. *This post is for the 21 and over crowd, please drink responsibly.*  

This is a list of popular Korean alcohol brands, cocktail mixtures, and whenever possible their ingredients for the food allergy community.  Let’s learn a little more about Korean alcohol.  


Soju is a clean and smooth tasting alcohol that is usually made from rice, barley, sweet potatoes or tapioca.  The drink works well with a variety of Korean meals and snacks and is usually low in alcohol compared to Vodka.  Soju can be enjoyed by itself or mixed with other alcoholic beverages.

Jinro Soju:

Jinro: Looking for various flavors try this popular Soju brand in grapefruit, green grape, plum, strawberry, and peach.

Jinro 24 Soju: Has a more distinct, bold taste and a higher alcohol than regular Jinro.

Jinro Chamisul: Is a popular Soju distilled from grain, potato, and sweet potatoes  You can choose between two flavors: Original or Fresh. *Gluten-friendly*

Honorable Mention: Jinro Makguli (rice wine) is made with natural spring water.  The rice wine has a creamy milk color and has a lower alcohol content at 6% ALC/VOL.

If you want more information about Jinro Soju and where you can buy it check out their website here.

Won Soju:

Is a premium distilled soju that is made 100% with Wonju rice.  To find out where you can buy Won Soju check out their website here

Charm Soju:

Charm Soju also has many fruit flavors as well.  Fruit flavors include raspberry, coconut, honey, strawberry and melon.  Check your local stores, and online retailers for availability.

Popular Soju Cocktails

The most popular Soju combination is called Somaek or Soju Bomb.  Somaek is a Korean cocktail that combines beer and soju—a traditional Korean rice spirit. If you’ve watched any of the Korean dramas, workplace romances then you’ve seen this drink being prepared.  

There are several ways to make Somaek, the beer can be poured first, and a shot of soju is added. Another way to mix the drink is to add a shot of soju and then pour your beer filling the glass. A quick tap inside the glass to mix the cocktail and enjoy.   Whether you pour the beer first or the soju first it’s up to you and your personal preference. 

Alternative Cocktail Combinations:

  • Soju Martini: This cocktail features soju with dry vermouth (fortified wine) and a twist of lemon.
  • Soju Tonic: This is a refreshing drink that combines soju with tonic water and a slice of lime.
  • Soju Sour: This is a classic cocktail that combines soju with lemon juice, sugar, and egg white.
  • Soju Old Fashioned: This is a twist on the classic whiskey cocktail, using soju instead of whiskey.
  • Soju Yogurt: Yakult is a sweet probiotic drink, can be mixed with soju to create a sweet cocktail. 
  • Soju Sweetener: Stevia is a natural sweetener, and can be used to create a low-calorie cocktail. *Keto-Friendly*
  • Soju Greyhound: Swap the vodka in a classic Greyhound for soju. This cocktail features grapefruit juice and soju.
  • Soju Watermelon: Subak is the Korean word for “watermelon.”  This cocktail features watermelon juice, lemon-lime soda, and soju. 

As always choosing the right cocktail combination or soju brand will depend on your food allergy or intolerance. These are some of the combinations that I have read are great combinations.

The next Korean alcohol that is popular in South Korea is Makegolli.


Makgeolli is made from rice, wheat, or barley and has a milky-white appearance due to its unfiltered nature. It’s often called farmer’s liquor because farmers traditionally enjoyed it after a long day at work.

Makgeolli  is often served in traditional wooden bowls with a side of Korean pancakes, peanuts, or spicy fried chicken. Makgeolli’s unique taste makes it a perfect choice for anyone who prefers a milder and sweeter alcoholic drink.

Kook-soon-dang Rice Makgeolli

Imported by: Bekseju USA, Inc., 7123 Telegraph Rd, Montebello, CA 90640


These are the flavors that you can buy at your local H-Mart, online or check their website to find the nearest store. *Nuruk is a wheat grain so it’s not recommended for people with wheat and gluten food allergies.*

Original Flavor:

Ingredients: rice, yeast, nuruk, water, citric acid, lactic acid, aspartame, fructose, sucrose, carbon dioxide

Contains: Phenylalanne

Banana Flavor:

Ingredients: rice, yeast, nuruk, water, citric acid, lactic acid, aspartame, concentrated banana, banana flavor, fructose, sucrose, carbon dioxide

Contains: Phenylalanne

Peach Flavor:

Ingredients: rice, yeast, nuruk, water, citric acid, lactic acid, aspartame, concentrated peach, peach flavor, fructose, sucrose, carbon dioxide

Contains: Phenylalanne

White Grape Flavor:

Ingredients: rice, yeast, nuruk, water, citric acid, lactic acid, aspartame, concentrated white grapes, white grape flavor, fructose, sucrose, carbon dioxide

Contains: Phenylalanne

Chestnut Flavor:

Ingredients: rice, yeast, nuruk, water, citric acid, lactic acid, aspartame, concentrated chestnut, chestnut flavor, fructose, sucrose, carbon dioxide

Contains: Phenylalanne

Honorable Mention: REA Distilled Spirit Soju 25, is a premium soju that is made 100% from Korean sweet potatoes. 

Flower Wine

Gukhwa-ju, or flower wine, is a traditional Korean alcohol made from peach blossoms, chrysanthemums, or other edible flowers, honey, and rice wine.

The flowers used to make Gukhwa-ju are harvested when they are still fresh and fragrant. They are left to soak in honey and water for several days. The mixture is then combined with rice wine and fermented for several weeks.

Gukhwaju has a unique floral aroma and a slightly sweet taste. It’s mostly used for traditional celebrations, and it’s an excellent choice for those who enjoy a mild and fruity alcoholic drink.

Fruit Wines 

Raspberry Wine – Bokbunja-ju

Bohae is made with Korean black raspberries that are semi-sweet and can be paired with grilled fish, Korean BBQ, or after dinner with chocolate and cheese.  

Honorable Mention: Bohae also has a Korean Plum Wine that you can usually find right next to each other in your local H-mart.  If you don’t have an H-mart in your town check online or your local Beer, Wine and Spirit stores for availability. 

Plum Wine – Maesil-ju

A famous fruit-inspired Korean wine, maesil-ju, is known as a type of plum wine or plum liqueur. Its sweet taste comes from green plums.

To make this popular drink: The stem and leaves are removed from the top of the plums.  Next the wine is produced by alternating layers of sugar and green plums. The mixture is then soaked in distilled soju. 

For the next 100 days that glass jar is given an occasional stir or swish.  After 100 days have passed the plum fruit is removed. The wine can be enjoyed immediately or aged further. 

Final Thoughts

Korean alcohol is a part of social gathering and bonding in Korean culture. The brands listed are an excellent choice for anyone looking for unique liquors with distinct flavors.

These five popular drinks offer a glimpse into Korean drinking culture. We hope this article has inspired you to explore and try these traditional Korean liquors for yourself.

Please drink responsibly and follow the age limits/requirements that have been established in your city, state or country. 

Do you have a cocktail that is allergy-friendly that we didn’t mention? I would love to read about it in the comments down below!

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