Although South Korea continues to have a strong affinity for alcohol, non-alcoholic Korean drinks are also available and are encouraged to be tried. Given that drinking alcohol is frequently encouraged in social and professional settings, it’s not surprising.
One of the world’s biggest markets for alcoholic beverages is South Korea.
But, Korean non-alcoholic drinks are reviving for the body and the spirit.
Korean beverages come in a wide variety of flavors. Every taste bud will be satisfied, whether you choose refreshing Sikhye or the well-known Soju to sweet banana milk.
Let’s start by looking at the most well-known non-alcoholic beverages you must try.
Non-Alcoholic Korean Drinks To Try
The non-alcoholic Korean drink called Banana mat uyu is arguably the most well-known non-alcoholic beverage in South Korea. A survey by Statista in 2021 shows that about 18.1 percent of South Koreans have drunk banana milk in the last three months compared to other flavored milk brands.
This beverage is made primarily of natural components like milk and banana concentrate. While locating low-cost bananas in Korea is difficult since they must be imported, you can purchase low-cost banana milk at every grocery.
The popular milk in Korea is banana milk, which is enjoyed by all ages. You can consume it in the morning or bring it to work to energize yourself.
Lotte Chilsung, a South Korean soft drink manufacturer, introduced Milkis in 1989 under the name “milk and yogurt soda” (similar to dirty soda). Some prefer to compare it to a melting frozen yogurt mousse. It is produced using milk, sugar, corn syrup, and carbonated water.
Today, this non-alcoholic Korean drink called Milkis comes in a wide selection of flavors, including apple, melon, banana, peach, orange, strawberry, and mango.
The likelihood is that if you’re unfamiliar with the diverse range of Korean non-alcoholic beverages, you’ve never encountered Milkis. Curious? Just give it a shot for yourself.
Sungnyung (Scorched Rice Tea)
Sungnyung is a South Korean beverage produced by drizzling water or tea over the crispy layer of rice called nurungji that is left over after the rice has finished cooking. After cooking, the water will turn a light brown color and acquire a little nutty flavor.
This ancient beverage is typically savored following a meal because many think it helps with digestion and has numerous health advantages.
Sungnyung is frequently offered complimentary after a meal, thus, you might not be able to find it on restaurant menus.
Do you want to sample this beverage? It’s simple to create at home! After boiling the rice that is sunk to the bottom of the pot, remove the cooked rice and add water.
Dalgona is a whipped, foamy coffee that is typically served over milk. Similar varieties are popular in various Asian nations, even though it gained international recognition as a South Korean beverage.
To make the simplest version of this coffee, combine equal amounts of instant coffee, sugar, and water. The mixture is then whipped to color and texture that resembles caramel. Then, the milk is customarily ladled on top of it.
Try Bacchus if you need to remain awake while visiting South Korea, studying there, or working there and don’t feel like drinking coffee. South Korean energy drink Bacchus made its debut on the market in 1963. It has been one of the most recognizable steady sellers ever since.
Dong-A was one of the Korean health drinks and was specifically marketed as a hangover cure. Given that Dong-A is a pharmaceutical company, they are qualified to speak on the subject.
Prior to the introduction of Red Bull to the market, this energy drink was the preferred option. Bacchus is now advertised as an energizing beverage.
The magical component is taurine, which is also found in Red Bull.
Sikhye is the popular non-alcoholic Korean drink from South Korea that is produced with barley malt powder (the same material used to create beer and bread), sugar, rice, and occasionally pine nuts.
It is pleasantly sweet, and the barley malt imparts a very distinct flavor.
The beverage is customarily consumed during Korean festive holidays, such as New Year’s Day and the Korean Harvest Festival. Sikhye is frequently offered as a digestif since it includes dietary fiber and antioxidants.
Sujeonggwa (Cinnamon Punch)
Sujeonggwa, also known as Korean cinnamon punch, is a well-liked traditional dessert beverage drank alongside sikye (sweet rice drink) during the Korean festive holidays. It is frequently offered with a large meal because it is supposed to help with indigestion.
It has a dark brown color and can be served hot or cold. It is produced from water, dried persimmon, and cinnamon. The ginger gives it a sweetness and spiciness. This beverage was first mentioned in 1849 in the seasonal customs book “Dongguksesigi” by Hong Seok Mo, where it is described as a beverage made from the dried persimmon brew with the addition of ginger and pine nuts.
Green Plum Tea
From a pot of comforting hot tea to boosting vitality, early summer sees the sale of green plums, also known as maesil. They are later fermented with sugar to produce maesil syrup. You can make excellent fruity green plum tea by simply adding hot water to the syrup and stirring.
The beautiful thing is that once the maesil syrup has fermented, you may store it all year long and use it anytime you like for your tea.
Yuja-cha (Citrus Tea)
Yuja-cha is a popular wintertime beverage made from Korean citrus. Yuya, a citrus fruit like a lemon that is native to China and was introduced to South Korea during the Tang era, is used to make it. You may make the tea by blending warm water with freshly cut fruit that has been combined with sugar.
The other method involves creating a fruit preserve (yuja-cheong), which is often made with sliced yuya, honey or sugar, and water. After that, make the tea by combining the preserve and water. This comforting tea, which is best consumed warm, is frequently promoted as a restorative health treatment.
Misutgaru (Ground Grains)
Do you regularly drink protein shakes? In that case, Misutgaru is the best option for you! Misutgaru, a traditional Korean shake made from roasted mixed grains and sweetened with honey or condensed milk, is a popular treat. Barley, rice (white, black, and brown, both glutinous and non-glutenous), white beans, millet, sesame seeds, and soybeans are among the shake’s typical seven to ten ingredients.
Since it contains a lot of protein and vitamins, mitsugaru is a favorite breakfast beverage among health enthusiasts. Korean grocery stores frequently include a section where you may mix the grains yourself or purchase packages of pre-made mitsugaru powder. Since you only need to combine this pre-made powder with milk or water to produce a shake, it is simple.
This convenient and quick healthy beverage would be especially fantastic if you plan to go sightseeing in Seoul or other South Korean cities.
Hwachae, the term for popular Korean non-alcoholic punches, is typically made up of a variety of fruits and flowers steeped in water or fruit juice with honey, such as magnolia berry juice or whatever fruit you’re using.
Subak-Hwachae, or Watermelon Fruit Punch, which you can make alcoholic if you’d like, is the most well-known Hwachae. You can alter this recipe by including any other fruits, ice, and honeyed watermelon juice. For a zingier effect, you can also add Sprite or sparkling water.
The drinking habits of the Korean people are steeped in tradition and history. These days, you can incorporate it into your daily life and bring Korea closer to you by purchasing Korean soft drinks from the grocery store.
If you’re interested in learning more about non-alcoholic drinks in Asia, check out our blog about N/A Japanese drinks!
If you’re exploring sobriety right now, there are always ways to avoid and say no to alcohol. That sounded a little after-school-special didn’t it? All the same, we’re here for you!
Non-Alcoholic Korean Drinks FAQs
Below is a list of the most well-known non-alcoholic beverages you must try.
- Banana Milk
- Sunggnyung (Scorched Rice Tea)
Banana mat uyu is arguably the most well-known non-alcoholic beverage in South Korea. A survey by Statista in 2021 shows that about 18.1 percent of South Koreans have drunk banana milk in the last three months compared to other flavored milk brands.
Sikhye is a popular non-alcoholic, sweet drink from South Korea that is produced with barley malt powder (the same material used to create beer and bread), sugar, rice, and occasionally pine nuts. It is pleasantly sweet, and the barley malt imparts a very distinct flavor.
Yes, there is alcohol-free soju that is available under the halal label. Soju comes in two varieties: halal and non-halal. The non-halal bottle is significantly slimmer than the halal bottle.
Sovi, a K-drama fan who enjoys a variety of Korean delicacies but has never tasted soju because it contains alcohol, is the creator of the original idea. Sovi’s soju tastes like a virgin mojito and is free of alcohol.