28 Popular Refreshing Korean Beverages

Korean Beverages

Craving for a refreshing beverage? Quench your thirst with these famous Korean beverages –음료수 eumryosu like Soju, Banana Milk, and Milkis. Ready to learn more? Keep reading below!

It’s no secret that Korean cuisine offers a lot of mouthwatering food popular not just in South Korea but also worldwide. But aside from their food, they also have a fantastic variety of beverages ranging from non-alcoholic beverages and soft drinks to alcoholic drinks.

Today, we will learn about different Korean beverages that the locals and Korean culture enthusiasts are well-loved. This list might be long, but it will be worth reading.

What Are The Most Popular Korean Drinks?

In most of the K-dramas, whether it’s a historical K-drama or modern, we mostly see the characters drinking, which is a big part of their culture. It seems like drinks are an essential part of their lives. They have drinks perfect for different situations such as celebrations, tiredness, loneliness, and more. This is what makes us crave these drinks. Since it’s an integral part of their culture, why don’t we learn more about them?

Check out this extensive list of popular Korean drinks (alcoholic or not) and learn more about their history and drinking culture!

Korean Beverages Soju

1. Soju (소주) – Korean Distilled Beverage

When it comes to Korean alcoholic drinks, there’s one drink that will always come first into our minds: Soju. From K-dramas, online ads, and print ads, Soju is definitely the leading Korean alcoholic drink loved not just by Koreans but also by people worldwide.

It is thought to have first appeared when the Mongols taught the Koreans how to distill alcohol in the 13th century. Soju is made from fermented rice, although it can also be made from wheat, barley, sweet potatoes, or tapioca.

If ever you want to try Soju, Chamisul (참이슬) and Chum Churum (처음 처럼) are the two major soju brands that dominate the Seoul market.

Korean Beverages Somaek

2. Somaek (소맥) – Cocktail Made Of Soju And Beer

Another type of Korean drink that we usually see in K-dramas is the Somaek (소맥). It is a basic Korean cocktail made with beer and soju, a popular rice spirit from Korea. If you have watched the K-drama, My Roommate is a Gumiho; this is what Lee Dam drank after she broke up with Woo-yeo.

The proportions of the beverages might vary, but three parts soju to seven parts lager is a good starting point. Somaek can be made in various ways, but the most common is to pour beer first, followed by a shot of soju. This is also best partnered with Korean fried chicken, like how Koreans enjoy it.

Korean Beverages Banana Milk

3. Banana uyu (바나나 우유) – Banana Milk

Remember when Baek Yi Jin surprised Na Hee-do while training at her school? This is the drink that Yi Jin gave to Na Hee-do. This simple, sugary, and addictive Korean drink makes up the childhood memories of many Koreans. It’s no surprise that nearly a million bottles of Banana milk are sold every day because of its popularity, added to the fact that it’s endorsed in K-dramas.

The government intended to encourage South Koreans to drink more milk for their health. Therefore banana-flavored milk became popular. Since its launch in 1974, when bananas were still considered a luxury item, this drink has been a national favorite. The most popular brand of Banana milk is Binggrae.

Korean Beverages Dalgona Coffee

4. Dalgona Keopi (달고나 커피) – Dalgona Coffee

Remember when the pandemic hit and made the whole world stop in the year 2020? Dalgona Coffee rose to popularity, and almost everyone joined the trend and made their version in their home. This trendy Korean drink is perfect for enjoying at home because it is easy to make, delicious, and served cold.

The word dalgona comes from traditional Korean street food that tastes similar to honeycomb toffee. Dalgona is created in a similar style to whipped coffee; hence it was given that name by a TV personality.

Dalgona coffee is essentially frothy whipped coffee made of instant coffee, sugar, hot water, and milk. If you want to do this at home, you’ll need a mixing bowl. Combine the coffee, sugar, and hot water and whisk until the mixture is creamy, velvety, and firm. This whipped coffee is then dolloped upon cold or warm milk of your choosing. You can also watch TikTok or YouTube video tutorials.

Korean Beverages Milkis

5. Milkiseu (밀키스) – Milkis

Milkis, often known as milk and yogurt soda, is one of the famous and well-liked Korean soft drinks. Lotte Chilsung, a South Korean beverage manufacturer, makes it. Its tagline says, “New feeling of soda beverage.” It blends several of the basic constituents of classic carbonated beverages, such as sugar and carbonated water, with milk to create a creamy taste. If you want a refreshing drink, Milkis is one to consider.

Korean Beverages Maekkol

6. Maekkol (맥콜) – McCol

Who’s up for another refreshing drink? If you’re in South Korea, you should never miss trying McCol. In Korea, it is the first carbonated barley drink. It has recently received a lot of interest from health-conscious circles since it includes a dietary fiber called β-glucan. But, it didn’t take long until it gained popularity in South Korea.

McCol is a Korean barley-flavored soft drink that Ilhwa Co produces. It has a particular flavor that sets it apart from other cola soft drinks, giving it a rich yet refreshing flavor. McCol is a Korean favorite because of its unusual sweet flavor and blends of carbonation and barley undertones.

Korean Beverages Bokbunja Ju

7. Bokbunja Ju (복분자주) – Korean Black Raspberry Wine

Bokbunjaju, commonly known as bokbunja wine, is a fruit wine prepared in Korea from wild and/or cultivated bokbunja (Korean black raspberry). Bokbunja-major Ju’s ingredient is the Bokbunja berry (a toothsome raspberry variant in Korea).

The health advantages of the bokbunja fruit are well recognized, so it should be no surprise that this delectable wine is also quite healthy. The wine’s trademark blood-red color and sweet berry flavor come from this local berry.

Korean Beverages Makgeolli

8. Makgeolli (막걸리)

Makgeolli, which goes back to the 10th century, is the oldest Korean alcoholic drink. It was popular among farmers and the working class decades ago. That’s why it gained the name “farmer’s drink.” It’s often produced with rice fermented with nuruk 누룩 (a traditional Korean fermentation starter). The fermenting procedure results in a softly carbonated beverage with a milky appearance and a mildly sweet taste.

When you dine in South Korea, it is served from a kettle and poured into stainless steel bowls. Since it was considered a “farmer’s drink,” a bowl of it was supposed to be equivalent to a rice bowl. Makgeolli is currently available in bottles and sold in supermarkets, preserving the heritage and innovating it.

Makgeolli is also one of the most popular Korean drinks that have been featured in different Korean dramas. It was seen in Vicenzo, Rooftop Makgeolli, and My Roommate Is A Gumiho. It was the most popular Korean drink in the 1980s, but imports slowly overshadowed it.

But, it made a comeback. Makgeolli gained popularity in the previous decade when it was reintroduced as a fruit cocktail blended with Chilsung Cider. Many bars and pubs throughout South Korea serve this contemporary form of Makgeolli.

Korean Beverages Maesil-ju

9. Maesil-ju (매실주)- Korean Plum Wine

Maesil-ju, commonly known as plum wine, plum liquor, or plum liqueur, is an alcoholic beverage made with maesil fruit (plums). It is made from maesil, preferably ripe hwangmae (yellow plums), which are fragrant, firm, and yellowish in hue. Winemakers will utilize ripe and firm yellow plums to prepare this drink (known as hwangmae in Korean). Green ones are less prevalent because they are usually tougher and less scented.

Plums are cleaned and dried on a tray in cold water for a day. Dried plums and soju are steeped for roughly 100 days in a sterilized glass or earthenware jug. The fruits are then sieved out of the plum wine, and sugar is added. The wine can be enjoyed right once, but aging it for three to six months will substantially enhance its flavor.

Korean Beverages Maesil-ju

10. Kol-la (콜라) – Cola/Coke

This is not particularly from South Korea, but it’s also a popular drink among Koreans. Kol-la or Cola is enjoyed by all ages just like how people love it in different parts of the world. It is best partnered with almost every Korean street food or Korean food. Just recently, in South Korea, the Coca-Cola Company released its first label-free plastic bottles. The corporation removed the plastic label to improve recycling efficiency and conform to the industry’s non-label trend to safeguard the environment.

Korean Beverages Omija Tea

11. Omija Tea (오미자차) – Korean Five-Flavor Berry

Do you want a flavorful tea? Omija Tea doesn’t just offer one or two flavors. It offers five flavors which makes it one of the most popular Korean drinks. Omija-cha, or magnolia berry tea, is a traditional Korean tea brewed from dried magnolia berries. Sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness, and pungency are the five flavors that make up the Omija. Boil dried magnolia berries in water over low heat and then add honey to make the tea.

This tea is ideal for when you feel a cold or flu coming on because it has a variety of therapeutic characteristics that help prevent colds. Omija tea may even help heal the liver over time, according to traditional Korean medicine!

Korean Beverages Maesilcha

12. Maesilcha (매실차) Green Plum Tea

If you have experienced going to South Korea during the summer season, you’ll see enormous netting bags full of little green plums or yellow plums. Plum trees are well-known throughout East Asia for their blossom and fruit. The plums from this tree are an essential ingredient in making one of the traditional Korean drinks, the Korean plum wine.

Koreans will often ferment plums with sugar to make maesil syrup, a plum concentrate that may be stored and used as a refreshing summer beverage or a winter tea.

Korean Beverages Nokcha

13. Nokcha (녹차) – Green Tea

Green tea or Nokcha has managed to get its place as one of the trendiest drinks today, and it’s one of the ultimate classic Korean beverages. It’s a delicious tea that can be consumed in various situations, like if you want a refreshing drink during summer, a warm drink during cold days, and if you want a new flavor for your cookie or cake.

Green tea has been around for centuries, and its applications appear to be endless. It’s also high in antioxidants, making it a favorite drink among health-conscious people. Instead of powder, Korean green tea is prepared from dried tea leaves. Today, almost everything has a green tea flavor – ice cream, cookies, and more.

Korean Beverages Misutgaru

14. Misutgaru (미숫가루) – Ground Grains

Misutgaru is a beverage made from misu-garu (misu powder), a traditional Korean grain powder made up of 7–10 different grains. It is commonly used to satisfy thirst on hot summer days, as a quick, nutritious drink for breakfast, or as a healthy snack.

Misutgaru is a roasted grain powder shake sweetened with honey or sugar. This smoothie is an excellent diet food because it is high in protein and provides a healthy range of whole grains.

Korean Beverages Dawn 808

15. Sukchwihaesoeumnyo (숙취해소음료) – Dawn 808

With the drinking culture of Koreans, it’s not surprising that hang-over drinks are very famous. Dawn 808 is the first patented hangover drink in the world! Dr. Jong Hyun Nam devised the formula (portrait on the can). The flavor is evocative of hanyak (traditional Korean medicine), made from traditional herbs and roots.

Korean Beverages Sikhye

16. Sikhye (식혜) – Korean Sweet Rice Drink

Sikhye does not refer to Du-sik and Hye-jin in Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. Sikhye is a non-alcoholic sweet drink created in South Korea with barley malt powder (the same grain used in beer and bread), sugar, rice, and, in certain cases, pine nuts. It’s a traditional Korean rice drink usually served as a dessert after a meal.

The drink has a particular flavor thanks to cooked rice and malt water. The drink is traditionally drunk at Korean festivals such as New Year’s Day and the Korean Harvest Festival. Sikhye is thought to aid digestion since it includes dietary fiber and antioxidants. Sikhye is such a rite of passage in Korea that it may even be found in bottles or cans at most Korean supermarkets and stores!

Korean Beverages Bakkaseu

17. Bakkaseu (박카스) – Bacchus/Energy Drink

Are you a fan of the Red Bull Energy drink when you need an extra energy kick? Bacchus will do the same trick. Water, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, taurine (the Red Bull special ingredient), and other additives make up most of the formula. Bacchus was first introduced in 1963 by the pharmaceutical company Dong-A as a hangover cure. It is now sold as an energy supplement.

Korean Beverages Keopi Uyu

18. Keopi Uyu (커피 우유) – Coffee Milk

Are you having a long day, and you want extra energy? Coffee milk will never disappoint you. Coffee milk is coffee-infused milk. One non-alcoholic drink will satisfy you and make your day better. What’s more interesting is that it comes with cool and cute packaging to be easily carried around.

Korean Beverages Rosdechilseongsaida Chilseong Cider

19. Rosdechilseongsaida (롯데칠성사이다) – Chilsung Cider

Do you want another refreshing soda? Chilsung Cider will do the magic. Chilsung Cider is Korea’s No. 1 original carbonated beverage with a lengthy history. It tastes like a lemon-lime soft drink that many Koreans consider a refreshing drink, especially after exercising. The trick to this popularity lies with its standards: Pure, Clear, and Caffeine-free.

Korean Beverages Gukhwacha

20. Gukhwacha (국화차) – Chrysanthemum Tea

One of the traditional teas that Koreans love to enjoy is the Gukhwacha or Chrysanthemum Tea. It is a flower-based infusion beverage produced from the blooms of the Chrysanthemum morifolium or Chrysanthemum Indicum species, popular in East and Southeast Asia. It is made of dried flowers soaked in honey for several months before being brewed with hot water to make a light, somewhat sweet tea full of flower blossoms.

The Chrysanthemum flower also has a lot of health benefits. According to one study, Chemicals taken from chrysanthemum flowers may help reduce inflammation, have anti-obesity effects, aid in the treatment of high blood sugar, and prevent type 2 diabetes.

Korean Beverages Yujacha

21. Yujacha (유자차) – Citron Tea

Yuja cha is a tea created from thinly sliced yuzu fruit preserved in honey, preserving the fruit and giving it the sweet flavor that distinguishes citron tea. The main ingredient of this tea is Yuzu, a lemon-like citrus fruit. To create citron tea, get some of this delectable yuzu honey and dissolve a few spoonfuls in hot water. Citron tea has been considered a cold and flu treatment for centuries.

Korean Beverages Boricha

22. Boricha (보리차) – Roasted Barley Tea

Koreans offer a wide variety of teas that you can enjoy, whether hot or cold. One of them is the Boricha or the Roasted Barley Tea. Unlike several teas on this list made with syrups or honey, it may be produced with only a tea bag and some hot water. Barley tea is also caffeine-free, allowing it to be had at any time of day.

Korean Beverages Oksusucha

23. Oksusucha (옥수수차) – Corn Tea

If you visit South Korea in winter and you’re looking for a perfect drink, corn tea is worth considering. Corn tea, or Oksusu-cha, is a Korean tea prepared from corn. While oksusu-suyeom-cha, or corn silk tea, refers to tea produced using corn silk, oksusu-cha can also be made with corn kernels, corn silk, or a combination of the two. In the winter, the caffeine-free infusion of this drink is a popular hot beverage. Corn tea can also aid weight loss, so this drink is worth it.

Korean Beverages Cheongju

24. Cheongju (청주)

Let’s talk about another Korean rice wine that has been around for a long time. Cheongju is a rice wine manufactured in South Korea from fermented polished rice. After that, it’s filtered to create a clear, crisp drink with a subtle sweetness. Cheongju is a traditional royal beverage still served as a ceremonial or welcoming drink. It is way more expensive than Soju, but it’s worth it.

Korean Beverages Yulmucha

25. Yulmucha (율무차) – Job’s tears

Yulmu-cha is a roasted, powdered yulmu tea occasionally blended with nuts like walnuts. The star of yulmu is a little grain known as “Job’s tears,” which has a long and colorful history. In addition to being delicious, this grain was used to produce religious jewelry throughout Europe, earning its unusual moniker.

Many people argue if it’s a tea or a meal. Despite being a tea, yulmu contains significant nourishment due to its preparation. In South Korea, vending machines sell tea, normally served hot. It’s affordable, convenient, and most of all, delicious.

Korean Beverages Sujeonggwa

26. Sujeonggwa (수정과) – Korean Cinnamon Punch

Another Korean “dessert” drink, Sujjeongwa is a popular traditional drink that you must try. The drink’s foundation is simmering ginger, peppercorns, and cinnamon. Then, to give it a heartier, autumnal flavor, honey or brown sugar is added, along with dried persimmons that are reconstituted in the liquid.

Korean Beverages Hwachae

27. Hwachae (화채) – Korean Punch

Hwachae is a generic term for non-alcoholic punches created in Korea from various fruits and edible flowers soaked in honeyed water or honeyed magnolia berry juice.

Some Hwachae recipes now include fizzy beverages and fruit juices. Before serving, several restaurants top this dish with pine nuts. Subak-Hwachae is the most popular fruit punch, created of watermelon slices or scoops, bits of other fruits, ice, and honeyed watermelon juice.

Korean Beverages Milkeuti

28. Milkeuti (밀크티) – Milk Tea

We cannot talk about Korean beverages without talking about milk tea. The milk tea was invented in Taiwan and swiftly spread throughout Asia, and Korea is no different. Milk tea brands imported from abroad are well-known among young Koreans. The top Korean milk tea brands are Gong Cha 공차, The Alley 더앨리, Cofioca 커피오카, Amasvin 아마스빈, and Happy Lemon 해피레몬.

Other Korean Beverages

General Korean Beverages

English TranslationKoreanRomanizationAudio
Energy drink에너지 드링크eneoji deurinkeu
Fanta (brand name)환타hwanta
Fresh Fruit Juice생과일주스saeng-gwa-il juseu
Fruit Juice과즙gwajeup
Grapefruit Ade자몽에이드jamong e-ideu
Green Grape Ade청포도에이드cheongpodo e-ideu
Hot Chocolate핫초코hat-cho-ko
Hot Beverages뜨거운 음료tteugeoun eumnyo
Korean Sprite-like soda사이다sa-ida
Mineral Water광천수gwangcheons
Slushie, Slush슬러쉬seuleoswi
Sparkling water탄산수tansansu
Soft drink청량 음료cheongnyang eumryo
Tap Water수돗물sudonmul
Protein Shake프로틴 쉐이크peurotin swe-ikeu

Milk (우유 u-yu)

English TranslationKoreanRomanizationAudio
Almond Milk아몬드 밀크amondeu milkeu
Chocolate Milk초코라떼choko ratte
Coconut Milk코코넛 밀크kokoneot milkeu
Milkshake밀크 쉐이크milkeu sweikeu
Oat Milk오트 밀크oteu milkeu
Rice Milk라이스 밀크raiseu milkeu
Soy Milk두유duyu

Tea (차 Cha)

English TranslationKoreanRomanizationAudio
Black Rice Tea흑미차heungmi cha
Bubble Tea버블티beobeulti
Buckwheat Tea메밀차memil cha
Chamomile tea캐모마일차kaemoma-il cha
Cinnamon tea계피차gyepi cha
Flower tea꽃차kkot cha
Fruit Tea과일차gwa-il cha
Green tea홍차hong-cha
Green Tea With Roasted Rice현미녹차hyeonmi nokcha
Ginseng tea인삼차insam cha
Ginger tea생강차saeng-gang cha
Green tea latte녹차라떼nokcha ratte
Herbal Tea허브차heobeu cha
Hibiscus tea히비스커스차hibiseukeoseu cha
Iced tea아이스 티aiseu ti
Jujube tea대추차daechu cha
Lemon tea레몬차remon cha
Lotus leaf tea연잎차yeonip cha
Mint Tea민트차minteu cha
Mulberry Tea오디차odi cha
Mate Tea마테차mate cha
Oolong tea오롱차orongcha
Persimmon leaf tea감잎차gamnip cha
Pine needle tea솔잎차sollip cha
Pu erh tea보이차bo-icha
Quince tea모과차mogwa cha
Roasted Barley Tea (made with roasted barley seed)보리차bori cha
Roasted Corn Tea옥수수차oksusu cha
Rose Flower Tea장미꽃차jangmikkot cha
Rooibos Tea로이보스차ro-iboseu cha
Ssanghwa tea, Korean medicinal tea쌍화차ssanghwa cha
Tea made from scorched rice누룽지차nurungji cha
Tea made from oriental raisins (Hovenia dulcis)헛개차heotgae cha
Tea made from roots of Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum)둥굴레차dunggulle cha
Tea made from roots of angelica (Angelica gigas or Angelica acutiloba)당귀차dang-gwi cha
Topinambur tea, tea made from roots of Jerusalem artichoke돼지감자차dwaeji gamja cha
Tea made from sicklepod (Senna tora)결명자차gyeolmyeongja cha
Tea made from Chinese bushclover (Lespedeza cuneata)야관문차yagwanmun cha
Tea made from burdock roots (Arctium lappa)우엉차u-eong cha
Tea made from balloon flower roots (Platycodon grandiflorus)도라지차doraji cha
Tea made from dried radish무말랭이차mumallaengi cha
Tea made from bitter melon (Momordica charantia)여주차yeoju cha
Tea made from noni (Morinda citrifolia)노니차noni cha
Tea made from tangerine peels귤껍질차gyul-kkeopjil cha
Tea made from sword beans작두콩차jakdukong cha
Tea made from cacao nibs카카오닙스차kakaonipseu cha

Coffee (커피 Keo-pi)

English TranslationKoreanRomanizationAudio
Cafe latte카페 라떼kape ratte
Cafe macchiato까페
Cafe mocha카페모카kape moka
Caramel latte카라멜 라떼karamel ratte
Coffee americano아메리카노amerikano
Cold brew coffee콜드 브루koldeu beuru
Filter Coffee필터 커피pilteo keopi
Iced americano아이스 아메리카노a-iseu amerikano
Soy latte두유라떼duyu ratte
Latte with condensed milk연유라떼yeonyu ratte
Vanilla latte바닐라라떼banilla ratte

Alcoholic Drinks/ Beverages (주류 Juryu)

English TranslationKoreanRomanizationAudio
Ale (beer)에일e-il
Aromatized spirits (often based on Soju)담금주damgeum ju
Draft beer생맥주saeng maekju
Dongdongju, Korean rice wine with rice grains동동주dongdongju
Fruit-flavored Soju과일소주gwa-il soju
Hawthorn liquor산사춘sansachun
Korean blackberry wine복분자주bokbunja ju
Korean spirits전통주jeontong ju literally
“traditional alcohol”
Lager (beer)라거rageo
Liquor flavored with Jindallae blossoms두견주dugyeonju
Milky rice wine탁주takju
Yellow-colored herb liquor; Baekseju (brand name)백세주baekseju
Korean Beverages Words And Phrases Related

Korean Words And Phrases Related To Korean Beverages

English TranslationKoreanRomanizationAudio
beer bottle맥주 병maegju byeong
champagne glass샴페인 글라스syampein geullaseu
can drink a lot (of alchohol)술을 잘 마시다suleuljalmasinda
drinking glass물컵mulkeop
ice cube각 얼음gag eol-eum
to drink마시다masida
drink all at once (one shot)원샷wonsyat
drinking capacity, drinking limit주량juryang
water purifier machine정수기jeongsugi

Korean Sentences Related To Korean Beverages

English TranslationKoreanRomanizationAudio
I want to eat/drink. (intimate)마시고 싶어masigo sipeo
Drink less.절주jeoljjui
What would you like to drink? (Formal)음료 어떤 것 드릴까요? eumnyo eotteon geot deurilkkayo?
Could you perhaps give me something to drink? (Standard)혹시 마실 것 좀 줄 수 있을까요?hoksi masil geot jom jul su isseulkkayo?
Do you want to go have a drink today?오늘 한 잔 마시러 갈래?oneul han jan masireo gallae?

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