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South Korea has produced quality films and television shows over the years, but their recent popularity in the Philippines cannot be denied. Whether it’s dramas like Crash Landing On You or films like Parasite, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture last year, Korean films and series have become a part of a lot of Filipinos’ viewing habits. It helps that a lot of these shows and films are on streaming sites like Netflix, making them easier to access.
Like their films and TV series that have gained recognition abroad, another important part of Korean culture is drinking soju, which has also grown in popularity over the years. Soju is a clear, colorless spirit, with an alcohol content that varies from 16.8% to 53% alcohol by volume. It is traditionally made from rice and has a sweet taste that is described as buttery and malty. It has drawn comparisons to vodka, another neutral-tasting alcoholic beverage, but usually has just half of its alcohol content.
One similarity that soju has with vodka is that there are different flavors of it. Having a glass of flavored soju seems like the perfect way to cap off a day while watching some of the best Korean films and TV series that are available on Netflix. Here are some types of soju that you should consider for your next Netflix Night, and which shows and films they should be paired with:
With a blend of grapefruit and ultralight alcohol, the So Nice Grapefruit is the type of flavored soju that can be enjoyed by everyone. With a fruity and smooth taste, grapefruit has become one of the most popular soju flavors in Korea. It’s Okay Not To Be Okay is considered among the best Korean dramas of 2020, and for good reason. Starring Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Ye-ji as star-crossed lovers, the series deals with characters who are trying to move past traumatic incidents they experienced in the past and find solace in each other. Whether it’s the romance between its two charismatic leads, tear-jerking scenes, and even a little humor, It’s Okay Not To Be Okay has something for everyone, just like this popular soju flavor.
Everyone loves a good mystery, and Korea has produced many quality mystery films, including the 2017 film Forgotten. Starring Kim Mu-yeol and Kang Ha-neul, Forgotten is about a man who was kidnapped for 19 days and released under mysterious circumstances and suffers memory loss. His brother takes it upon himself to investigate and uncover the truth behind his disappearance. Similar to its Grapefruit counterpart, the So Nice Green Grape has a clean and fresh flavor and has been described as a mix between the Grapefruit and Peach flavors of soju. Its bitter and sweet taste provides a perfect contrast to the dark truths that the characters of the film piece together the events of their past.
Photo from @JinroPH
Unlike the other entries on this list, the Jinro Chamisul Original Soju has no flavors and retains its classic clean, neutral taste. It has been compared to the taste of vodka, except that it has a sweeter and less aggressive flavor, although it has a larger alcohol content than flavored sojus. It may not be for everyone, especially those who prefer flavored sojus with less alcohol content. Similarly, despite its innocent-sounding title, Sweet Home is an apocalyptic horror series that is certainly not for everyone. Starring Song Kang as a man who experienced a family tragedy and goes on to live in an apartment building where monsters lurk outside. But those who are adventurous may want to try Sweet Home while pairing it with a stronger brand of soju that retains its classic taste.
Photo from @JinroPH
Much like its So Nice counterpart, the Jinro Grapefruit Soju also has a smooth taste and is a little sweeter and less harsh than the Chamisul Original Soju variant. Similarly, the critically-acclaimed 2018 film Burning is less harsh than other entries on this list, but nevertheless also packs an emotional punch. Starring Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yuen, and Jeon Jeong-seo, Burning is an adaptation of the short story “Barn Burning” by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. It centers on a man who rekindles his friendship with a childhood friend, but then meets a rich, enigmatic man who he thinks poses a danger to her. It’s a slow burn, and may not be as dark and harsh as a show like Sweet Home, but should still serve as a contrast to the sweet taste of the Jinro Grapefruit Soju.
Photo from @FruityMixByTheBaR
With a 15% alcohol by volume content, the Fruity Mix Pink Grapefruit has been described as a fruit-forward spirit that is bursting with flavor and ultralight and is part of the first soju-like spirit from the Philippines. Starring Lee Seung-gi and Bae Suzy, Vagabond is a spy thriller about a stunt man investigating a plane crash that killed his nephew with the help of a covert operative. With a mix of action, suspense, and romance, Vagabond is a series that is easy to get behind, just like this flavored soju brand which boasts of different flavors and is easy to drink.
All films and TV series are available for streaming on Netflix.