Thirsty Thursdays: Soju and soda are super

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Pictured are two (2) bottles of green grape soju (Korea’s national alcohol). While soju might look pleasing and have many appeasing flavors, the taste can be extremely refreshing and it is said that it’s fairy strong to be consumed straight up. Photo credit goes to Ethan Michael

The headline would be more accurate if I included “Yakult,” but the lack of a starting “s” ruins the alliteration. My friend and I coincidentally came across inspiration for a soju, soda and Yakult cocktail in two separate sources. Mine came from “Koreatown: A Cookbook” by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard. Hers came from the milk/yogurt soda “Milkis,” which is actually more delicious than it may sound. As a result, I offer two variations of this delicious, Asian-inspired cocktail, but you can probably customize it even more. 

Yakult, a fermented dairy probiotic drink, is a staple in most Asian groceries. If you’re not Asian, you may be familiar with it from your Asian friends or from watching “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” on Netflix with the half-Korean Covey family. Yakult is sometimes referred to as a yogurt drink. 

Soju, Korea’s national alcohol, is fairly strong (16%-25% ABV) to be consumed straight-up, so a soju cocktail like this one is appealing to people who may not want to start with a stronger drink. It comes in a lot of refreshing fruit flavors, some of which aren’t as common to other liquors, like grapefruit, plum and apple. 

The third ingredient of this concoction is soda. The recipe I found specifies the lemon-lime Sprite, but I think Milkis works great with the yogurt theme. Either way you make it, this soju cocktail is refreshing, creamy and void of the sting of alcohol — in my opinion. Add more soju if you want the drink to be stronger. See below how to make this easy drink, and variations of other soju cocktails! 

Yogurt soju (adapted from “Koreatown”) 

Ingredients: 

Two small bottles of Yakult Probiotic Yogurt Drink (80 milliliters, each) 

One 375 milliliter bottle of soju 

One can of Sprite 

Instructions: 

Add the Yakult to a large pitcher. Stir in the soju. Add the can of Sprite, stir to combine well and serve immediately with ice. 

Milkis soju cocktail 

This strawberry-forward drink is reminiscent of a nice glass of strawberry milk, which I consumed way too often in childhood. 

Ingredients: 

Two small bottles of Yakult (80 milliliters each) 

One 375 milliliter bottle of strawberry soju 

One 250 milliliter can of plain or strawberry Milkis (or Calpis, another milk-based soft drink) 

Instructions: same as above. 

Soju Melona (adapted from @narttanicha) 

This popular drink made the rounds on TikTok (where this recipe comes from), using the also Internet-famous Melona, a popular Korean creamy ice cream bar flavored like honeydew, cantaloupe and coconut. People went crazy when Melona started showing up at Costco. 

Ingredients: 

One 375 bottle of soju 

Two Melona ice cream bars, sticks removed 

One cup of ice 

One can of Sprite or Chilsung cider 

Instructions: 

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  

Peach tea soju (adapted from Amy Holz) 

Take a break from your Arnold Palmers for this other iced tea-inspired drink. It’s even easier than the previous recipes! The proportions make this pretty strong, so feel free to adjust to your tolerance and liking. 

Ingredients: 

Two to three shots (two-thirds cup) of peach soju 

One-third cup of peach tea 

Instructions: 

Mix the ingredients in a glass, add or pour over ice to serve. 

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