This lemon soju drink is light and refreshing, perfect for anyone who likes vodka lemonades.
The lemon is key in this lemon soju drink (surprise!), so this is a good time to use fresh lemons and not that little dropper bottle.
Soju is a Korean alcohol made from rice. It’s super smooth, so it’s fairly easy to sip, take shots of (though I prefer flavored soju for sipping or shots), or mix into cocktails.
This recipe is best made with plain, unsweetened soju so that you can better control the sweetness.
If you need help deciding what to do with the rest of the soju, how about this refreshing strawberry soju cocktail? Or if you’re in the mood for something on the creamy side, how about a glass of yogurt soju or a honeydew soju cocktail?
How to Make
Combine the hot water and sugar together first to make a very liquidy simple syrup.
Once the sugar is dissolved completely in the water, pour into a cocktail shaker or old jam jar. Add the lemon juice, soju, salt and a few handfuls of ice. Cover the container and shake until the outside is cold.
Strain out the ice and pour the drink into your serving glass filled with fresh ice (thin slices of lemon for garnish are optional but pretty). Serve!
There’s no need to boil or cook the simple syrup here, since you’ll be making the drink immediately and don’t need to store the syrup for a while.
Since there’s a fair amount of lemon in this recipe, the water content in the simple syrup is fine. All that lemon needs to get diluted anyways.
Any drink I make, whether or not it ends up on the blog, has a bit of salt in it. Like in cooking and baking, the salt helps enhance the other flavors, so add it!
You might be tempted to serve the cocktail with the ice you shook the drink with; why waste this ice and use new ice?
This isn’t a good idea though, since the ice that was used to shake the drink has already started to melt and break down. This ice will dilute your drink a lot faster than fresh ice.
You can make this lemon soju ahead of time by a few days. Once you’re done shaking, strain it into a container, cover and refrigerate.
When you’re ready to serve, add fresh ice!
I can imagine this would be perfect if you’re trying to make a big batch and don’t want to individually make each drink on the spot.
I like to mix sugar and hot water together for a quick, liquid sweetener, but you could sub out the sugar for honey or agave instead.
If the honey or agave is already liquidy enough, you can forego the hot water, though I like dissolving the sweetener in hot water just in case (no one is looking for uber sweet clumps in their drink, blech).
I probably wouldn’t use something more flavorful here (ie dark brown sugar or maple syrup), since those flavors wouldn’t make for a light, fresh drink.
This cocktail is not very alcohol heavy; this is mostly due to personal preference as well as personal lack of alcohol tolerance.
That being said, you can definitely make this drink boozier if you would like. Extra soju would be easy enough to add, or you could add vodka should soju be too mild for you.
As is, this drink is pretty simple in terms of flavoring. Sometimes this is the mood, though I know there are times that you might want something a little more exciting.
If that’s you, consider adding a dash of something floral, like rosewater or orange blossom water.
Fresh herbs would also be delicious in this, perhaps some basil or mint. Muddle it a bit before adding everything else and shaking it up to help extract the flavor more.
And if you want to make another light, refreshing cocktail, try out this Hugo spritz!
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- ¼ cup plain unsweetened soju or 2 ounces
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 ounce
- thinly sliced lemon for garnish
Combine the hot water, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved.
Pour the sugar water into a cocktail shaker or an old jam jar, then add the soju, lemon juice and a few scoops of ice. Place the top or lid on the container, then shake until the outside of the container is cold.
Place a scoop of fresh ice in your serving glass. Strain the drink (leaving the ice behind) into the glass, then serve!
Granulated sugar can be substituted for honey or agave.
Can be made ahead; store in the fridge without the ice for up to a few days.