korean drinking etiquette

72 Drinks in Korean, from Common Global Beverages to Traditional Korean Drinks

Drink up some words for common drinks in Korean!

Learn how to talk about your favorite beverages, from traditional Korean classics to the everyday glass of water. 

Not sure how to use these words? Here’s a simple place to start. All you have to do is fill in your favorite drink in this sentence: 

_____ 을(를) 마시는 걸 좋아해요 . ( [_____-eul (reul) masineun geol joahaeyo.) — I like to drink _____.

Now you’re ready to learn all about refreshments, beverages, alcoholic tipples and everything in between.

Contents

Common Drinks in Korean 

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Here are the drinks we imbibe on a regular basis, regardless of age. Whether you prefer a piping hot cup of tea or are partial to a fruit juice, this is where you’ll find their Korean names.

KoreanPronunciationEnglish
mulWater
탄산수 tansansuSparkling water
코코넛 워터 koko-net woteoCoconut water
chaTea
아이스티 aiseutiIced tea
녹차 nokchaGreen tea
홍차 hongchaBlack tea
허브 차 heobeu chaHerbal tea
커피 keopiCoffee
핫 초콜릿 hat chokolitHot chocolate
우유 uyuMilk
아몬드 우유 amondeu uyuAlmond milk
두유 duyuSoy milk
주스 juseuJuice
오렌지 주스 orenji juseuOrange juice
사과 주스 sagwa juseuApple juice
애플 사이더 aepeul saideoApple cider
포도 주스 podo juseuGrape juice
당근 주스 danggeun juseuCarrot juice
과일 펀치 gwail peonchiFruit punch
레모네이드 lemonedeuLemonade
소다 sodaSoda
진저 에일 jinjeo eilGinger ale
루트 비어 ruteu bieoRoot beer
크림 소다 keurim sodaCream soda
스무디 seumudiSmoothie
슬러시 seulleosiSlushie
밀크셰이크 milkeusheikeuMilkshake
목테일 mokkteilMocktail (non-alcoholic cocktail)

Alcoholic Drinks

Bottoms up! Check out some names for alcoholic drinks in Korean.

But before you drink, don’t forget to clink your glasses together with your companions and say 건배 (geonbae) — Cheers! 

KoreanPronunciationEnglish
주류 julyuAlcohol
맥주 maekjuBeer
와인 wainWine
화이트 와인 hwaiteu wainWhite wine
레드 와인 redeu wainRed wine
로제 rojeRosé
보드카 bodeukaVodka
reomRum
위스키 wiseukiWhiskey
jinGin
테킬라 tequillaTequila
브랜디 beuraendiBrandy
칵테일 cakteilCocktails
마티니 matiniMartini
마가리타 magaritaMargarita
리큐어 likeu-eoLiqueur
샴페인 syampeinChampagne
스파클링 와인 seupaekling wainSparkling wine
사케 sakeSake

Traditional Korean Drinks

Traditional Korean drinks offer a glimpse into the country’s culture and history. From the invigorating barley tea, believed to cleanse the body and aid digestion, to the sweet and comforting sikhye, a fermented rice drink often served as a dessert, each beverage tells a story.

Learn about some common traditional Korean drinks below:

  • 보리차 (Boricha) — Barley tea, a tea made from roasted barley grains that has a gentle toasty flavor and is believed to be detoxifying. 
  • 쌍화차 (Ssanghwa cha) — A bitter herbal tea made from a combination of various medicinal herbs.
  • 유자차 (Yuja-cha) — A hot citron tea made from yuja (citron) fruit and honey.
  • 오미자차 (Omija-cha) — “Five-flavor berry tea,” made from omija berries, known for their five flavors (sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent).
  • 생강차 (Saenggang cha) — Ginger tea, often served hot and believed to have various health benefits.
  • 대추차 (Daechu-cha) — A tea made from jujubes (Chinese dates) known for its sweet and soothing taste.
  • 국화차 (Gukhwa-cha) — Chrysanthemum tea, a light and floral tea made from chrysanthemum flowers (and a personal favorite!).
  • 율무차 (Yulmu-cha) — A tea made from Job’s tears, a type of grain, known for its nutty taste.
  • 민들레뿌리차 (Mindeulleppuri-cha) — Dandelion root tea, an herbal tea made from the roots of dandelion plants.
  • 인삼차 (Insamcha) — Ginseng tea, made from ginseng roots and believed to have various health benefits.
  • 유자꿀차 (Yujaggul-cha) — A sweet honey citron tea often consumed for its soothing properties.
  • 알로에 음료 (Alloe eumryo) — Aloe vera drink, a refreshing beverage made from aloe vera gel, often mixed with fruit flavors.
  • 옥수수수염차 (Oksusu-suyeomcha) — Corn silk tea made from the silky threads found on corn cobs.
  • 솔잎차 (Sonamucha) — Pine needle tea made from the needles of pine trees, known for its earthy, Sprite-like flavor.
  • 우전차 (Ujeoncha) — A type of green tea made from the first flush of tea leaves in spring.
  • 화채 (Hwachae) — Fruit punch, often made with a mix of fruits (especially watermelon), honey and sometimes a touch of soju.
  • 바나나 우유 (Banana Uyu) — Banana milk is a national favorite, especially loved by younger generations that features a creamy sweetness and subtle banana flavor.
  • 식혜 (Sikhye) — Sweet rice drink with barley malt, often enjoyed as a dessert.
  • 막걸리 (Makgeolli) — Traditional Korean rice wine with a slightly sweet and tangy taste.
  • 동동주 (Dongdongju) — Unfiltered rice wine, similar to makgeolli but with a thicker consistency.
  • 소주 (Soju) — Clear distilled spirit usually made from rice, barley or sweet potatoes.
  • 복분자주 (Bokbunja-ju) — Wine made from bokbunja, Korean black raspberry.
  • 산사춘 (Sansachun) — A Korean rice wine flavored with the red sansa fruit, or Chinese hawthorn.
  • 백세주 (Baekseju) — “Hundred-Year Liquor,” A medicinal wine that gets its name from the belief that drinking it will help you live to 100.

How to Order Drinks in Korean

Heading out to the bar or restaurant? Here are some basic phrases for ordering drinks in Korean:

If you’re left thirsty for more, you can pick up many more useful Korean phrases and vocabulary words for talking about drinks (and much more!) on FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

FluentU Ad

Korean Drinking Etiquette

Korean drinking culture is deeply rooted in social customs and traditions. To avoid a drink-time faux pas, here are some key aspects of Korean drinking etiquette, especially pertaining to alcoholic drinks:

  • Pouring drinks: The youngest or lowest-ranking person at the table is usually responsible for pouring drinks for others. When pouring a drink for someone older or of higher status, use both hands to show respect.
  • Receiving drinks: When receiving a drink, hold your glass with both hands, especially when receiving it from someone older or of higher status.
  • Refusing a drink: It’s common for people to offer drinks as a sign of hospitality. If you need to refuse, you can do so politely, but it’s generally encouraged to accept the first drink offered.
  • Making toasts: Lift your glass with both hands during a toast to show respect. After the toast, it’s customary to take a sip.
  • Drinking games: Known as 주먹게임 (Jumeokgeim), drinking games are fun ways to drink socially or get to know the people you’re out with. For instance, the game “I am ground” has you going around the table introducing yourself in rhythm, then the round continues as each person tries to name someone they’ve just been introduced to. You can see it being played here. Looks like fun!
  • Hangover cures: Had a fun night drinking with your colleagues and are now suffering from the dreaded hangover? Koreans swear by the hearty soup 해장국 (haejangguk), which literally means “hangover soup.”  

 

This post should quench your thirst for everything related to drinks in Korean. Now 한잔 하자 (hanzan haja) — Let’s drink!

And One More Thing...

If you enjoyed this post, you're already halfway to having the time of your life learning Korean with FluentU!

FluentU makes it possible to learn with K-pop videos, funny commercials, entertaining web series and more. Just a quick look will give you an idea of the variety of FluentU videos on offer:

learn-korean-with-videos

FluentU really takes the grunt work out of learning languages, leaving you with nothing but engaging, effective and efficient learning. It's already hand-picked the best videos for you (which are organized by level and topic), so all you have to do is simply choose any video that strikes your fancy to get started.

Each word in the interactive captions comes with a definition, audio, image, example sentences and more.

learn-korean-with-subtitled-video-clips

Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and easily review words and phrases from the video under Vocab.

practice-korean-with-adaptive-quizzes

You can use FluentU’s unique Quiz Mode to learn the vocabulary and phrases from the video through fun questions.

practice-korean-with-customized-quizzes

FluentU keeps track of what you're learning, and tells you exactly when it's time for review, giving you a 100% personalized experience.

Review sessions use video context to help embed the words in your memory.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Close