There is an Asian supermarket just a couple of miles away, and we shop there periodically to stock up on things that are usually too expensive at “conventional” supermarkets. (Rice noodles, coconut milk, etc.) But of course the side benefit is getting to see new produce and products that we don’t usually come across. On a recent trip, a bottle of Maple Soju caught my eye.

Chris was already familiar with the Korean liqueur, so when I asked him if we could give it a try in a cocktail, he was more than willing. (Then again, I don’t think he’s ever hesitated when I ask him to make me a cocktail!) The name of the cocktail comes from the famous pre-Korean War boundary between North and South Korea.

Soju can be made with rice, wheat or barley – and some producers even use potatoes or tapioca. I’m not sure what ours was made of, but I can tell you the price was very, very reasonable. So we’re probably not using the “top of the line.” It’s 19.5% ABV and the bottle says it’s made with rice alcohol and “flavor”. On its own, it has a hint of earthy rice flavor and maple sweetness.

Alongside the Becherovka and Punt y Mes, this cocktail brings a sweet bitterness from the Soju and Punt y Mes, followed by a subtle herbal finish. It’s definitely not quite like any cocktail I’ve had before, but in a good way. This one didn’t last long!

38th Parallel

38th Parallel

Unlike anything I’ve made before, this cocktail takes your palate on a long journey – all the way to the 38th parallel.
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  • 1 1/2 oz Maple Soju
  • 1/2 oz Punt y Mes
  • 1/2 oz Becherovka
  • 1 ea Lemon Twist


  • Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice
  • Stir well
  • Fine-strain into a rocks glass with a large, single piece of ice
  • Garnish with lemon twist