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With the number of Korean dramas available these days, it’s understandable to get overwhelmed. After all, we can’t watch everything. But I have a tried and tested way to know which drama is worth my time: by watching their soju scene.
If you’re a fan of anything Korean – fashion, music, drama, and the like – odds are you know how much Koreans love drinking. Widely considered to be the country’s top alcoholic beverage, soju is so popular it appears in almost every drama set in contemporary times.
I relish the times when the characters open a bottle of soju because I believe that soju scenes are one of the most integral parts of the Korean drama plot. You might be wondering what soju brand is their favorite and how it impacts the story. Let me show you.
(Before we begin, note that there may be spoilers ahead!)
One of this year’s most popular romantic comedy series, A Business Proposal, captured audiences because of the acting chops of its cast led by Kim Se-jeong and Ahn Hyo-seop. It tells the story of an employee who goes on a blind date to replace her friend. The catch? The date is actually with her boss.
At the heart of this drama is a forbidden office romance between an employee and the president of the company. Because of this, I knew that the scenes at the office or with the company workers would determine whether the drama would be a hit.
And the drama delivered. Shin Ha-ri’s coworkers are a fun bunch with their own subplots and witty lines. But one of the funniest scenes features actor Lim Ki Hong’s character Gye-bin, who makes up a new way to create a bomb shot – a mixture of soju or whiskey and beer.
Koreans usually use well-loved brands fit for the tastes of everyone in the team – such as Jinro soju – for this shot. Employees also make pouring bomb shots a performance and it typically brings coworkers closer. This scene not only strengthened President Kang Tae-moo’s relationship with Ha-ri’s team but also went viral and cemented A Business Proposal’s position as one of the best dramas of the year and one of the most humorous dramas in history.
Hospital Playlist is one of the few Korean dramas that made it to a second season. That’s a testament to how loved the drama is. We all enjoy watching the friendship, food fights, and jokes shared by the main cast dubbed the 99z on account of how the characters all entered medical school in 1999.
On top of the group’s friendship, one of the most engaging subplots in the drama is hepatobiliary surgeon Lee Ik-jun’s seemingly one-sided and unacknowledged love for neurosurgeon Chae Song-hwa. This comes to the center stage in an episode during the first season, when Lee accompanies Chae’s team on a night out full of laughter, food, beer, and of course Jinro soju.
The neurosurgery team asks him the question that audiences have been asking since the first episode: if there has been a moment where he considered Chae as more than just a friend.
While he first declines to answer, he finally says that there was a moment and the audience is led to believe that there really is something there. The question of this unrequited love is threaded throughout the narrative of the show and is, up to this day, one of the fan’s favorite subplots. Do they like each other? Do they get together? You can find out in season two.
‘Work Later, Drink Now’ (2021)
Friends who drink together, stay together. This might as well be the motto of the main characters in this drama. Work Later, Drink Now is another show that has been renewed for a second season.
What I loved about this drama is how accurately it portrays the lives of twenty- and thirty-something workers who always, always drink after work, no matter what. The bond between the three friends is strong and made even stronger by late nights, hangovers, and the stench of alcohol the next morning at work.
The drama also introduced me to new ways of drinking – shockingly, YouTuber Kang Ji-goo (Jung Eun-ji) drinks soju through a straw in the drama – and showed me what brands Koreans love. For example, their drinks table never runs out of Jinro soju bottles. Ever.
The series was available in the Philippines on K-PLUS Channel every Saturday during its run. If you’re interested, season two will be premiering later this year.
In dramas and life, Jinro soju brings us together
What we’ve observed is that in all of these dramas, soju symbolizes connection. Soju scenes are oftentimes the moments when the leads truly get to know each other or the audience completely falls in love with the characters.
Soju scenes have made these dramas iconic because these scenes are relatable to audiences. We’ve all had a drink with coworkers where someone makes a fool of themself, refused to confess during a drinking game, or a time when all we did after work was drink. Are you looking to bring a sense of connection to your life as well?
Create fun times with your friends and loved ones by drinking Korea’s preferred soju brand Jinro. The original Korean soju, Jinro has been named the best-selling soju brand in South Korea and awarded the world’s best-selling spirit for 20 consecutive years and counting. It’s well-known for its fresh, rich, and clean taste, lower alcohol percentage, and variety of flavors such as grapefruit, green grape, plum, and strawberry.
Worried that you might not find it in a grocery store full of green bottles? Just remember that Jinro soju can be identified by the iconic toad mascot in its label.
Like Korean dramas, dinners or nights out with friends wouldn’t be complete without a bottle of soju. Grab a shot glass, it’s time for you to create your own soju scene. – Rappler.com