White Koreans: The Drink ‘The Dude’ Would Have Drank If He Lived Here
You’re in Korea. You love White Russians. But, damn, 33,000 won for a small bottle of Absolut at GS25? Get the GTFO out of here, good shopkeeper.
Fortunately, there’s another liquor that might get you sicker quicker, but at least it’s cheaper.
Your average green-tinted bottle of soju costs about 1,500 won, give or take a Korean penny, which comes out to about $1.50, give or take an American dime. With an alcohol content between 14 (for those weak-ass flavored sojus that were pretty popular about two years ago but seem to have died down) to the punchy 21 percent your finest haraboji were shotgunning when they were young whippersnappers (and probably still drink today). They’re alcoholic enough to get you where you want to go (if where you want to go is on the floor in front of some dirty public toilet) without being strong enough to feel like you’re breathing in fire after having a shot. In short, soju is a perfect enabler for alcoholism.
Except for the fact that it kind of tastes like shit. So, let’s take care of that by adding some coffee liqueur and milk!
But, since I’m so fancy, I opted for the Andong Soju they had at my local mart. It’s not 1,500 won. But, at 8,000 won, it was still far cheaper than Absolut (even if the bottle is small, shut up). And look at that ABV. There also was a 21% version for 5,000 won. But, this is probably the closest thing you’re going to get to vodka without, you know, vodka.
I took a sip of the stuff before mixing it, which could have been a mistake (but, it wasn’t!). Soju might be lazily (by me) described as kind of a watered-down vodka, but it’s really not. And 40% ABV soju is even less like watered-down vodka than the adjosshi backwash we knock back when we’re trying to stretch our hagwon paychecks through to the end of the month. Was this experiment going to work? Could I call it a “fusion recipe” and get away with it?
Let’s make a drink!
INGREDIENTS and AMOUNTS per serving:
*Fill a glass with ice. I think an old fashioned glass would be the preferred choice, but I’m already too fancy. Use what you have on hand.
*1 shot soju (don’t get one of those nasty, artificially-flavored ones. Step up your game and open that wallet just a little wider and pick up something halfway decent like the above libation)
*1 shot coffee liqueur (I bought Kahlua, which seems really expensive here in Korea at about 16,000 won for a 375ml bottle at Home plus. I have no idea how much it costs in the U.S. Everyone knows it, everyone who likes coffee liqueur seems to enjoy it. It’s like getting crappy coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts or a great, hand-stimulated drip from some independent place. It all will taste the same when it’s mixed with sugar and milk)
*Finish with milk (didn’t The Dude powdered Coffeemate? That’s disgusting! To each their own. I think really fancy White Russian drinkers would use cream, but I only had milk when I thought of this half-assed recipe)
So, how was it? How did it compare to the White Russians we made too many of last year when my girlfriend and I were taking advantage of our Costco membership by buying massive 1.75-liter bottles of Kirkland vodka?
Even Dunkin’ Donuts coffee doesn’t taste like Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (read: terrible) when it’s full of sugar and milk. And, this coffee-esque flavored drink was. Not terrible. And, it didn’t taste like soju. It tasted like coffee liqueur and milk. It pretty much tasted like what we were making last year with that Kirkland vodka. Hell, maybe even “The Dude” would approve.
If that’s something that sounds tasty to you, I recommend you give this humble recipe a try. And, if you do decide to go cheap and get a green bottle, let me know how it turns out. I assume it, too, will taste like coffee liqueur and milk.
JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.