If you had to guess what the best-selling brand of liquor in the world was, we’d totally understand tossing out names like Smirnoff vodka and Jack Daniel’s. Good guesses, but wrong. The title belongs to Jinro soju from South Korea. The issue, only around 5% of the company’s sales come in the US. That’s a number they’re currently looking to change. As Jinro attempts to make a dent in the US booze marketplace (they’ve already wiggled their way into Dodger’s Stadium), we figured we’d pick up a bottle and see what it’s like.
One of the selling points of soju (depending on who you ask) is that, at around 20% ABV (Jinro’s clocks in at 24%), it isn’t going to do you in right off the bat, and while you might want that at times, it is nice to have something that falls between beer and most hard alcohol on the get-you-messed-up-o-meter. The taste is mild and somewhat citrusy making Jinro soju useful for mixed drinks. It also happens to be a bit sweet which could come off as a tad cloying to certain palates. It’s actually not too much unlike vodka with a little bit of a sugary lime kick (and maybe a hint of rubbing alcohol). At a price point lower than a lot of hard liquors, however, it isn’t the worst bargain option out there. Overall, we’d say, well, it’s not bad. Will it take the place our Johnnie Walker? No, but it’s surprisingly drinkable and a nice, lighter substitute for some clear alcohols.