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North Korean Drinks – 10 of the best

north korean whisky
North Korean drinks - local whisky

What is the North Korean Drinks scene? In the next part of our national drinks series we are looking at what you can drink in North Korea, and believe me I know, as I have been here 100+ times.

To check out North Korean tours click here.

North Korean Drinks 10 of the best

As always we will not be listing the drinks in any kind of order, but simply giving the best of 10 different categories, such as best North Korean soda, best North Korean beer etc.

North Korean drinks – what is the drinking culture?

North Koreans like and enjoy a beer, or a soju! From a soft-drinks point of view they import canned coffee and the like from Malaysia, make their own cola, as well as indigenous bottled water, both sparkling and still.

Best North Korean Beer

For best North Korean Beer we will first look at the best North Korean mass produced beer. For this it is the legendary Taedonggang Beer. There is a whole story behind how these guys started, which involved literally importing a brewery from the UK.

North Korean drinks
Taedonggang export

You have not been to North Korea unless you have tried one of these green bottles. You can even get Taedonggang in Cambodia!

To read about North Korean food in Cambodia click here.

North Korean Drinks – Soju

When it comes to liquor then it is all about the Soju! North Korean do little green bottles, similar to South Korean Ginro, as well as cheap Soju that looks like it is in a water bottle. We like these ones…..

North Korean drinks
Not North Korean Soju

Soju goes from about 18% right up full strength liquors, which we will cover in a bit.

To read about the best selling liquor in the world click here.

Best Draft Beer in North Korea – Rakwon Beer Bar

This might be a controversial one as there are simply so many great draft beers in North Korea, but for me at least this bar is consistently good. They offer 6+ draft beers, depending on the day. Also a great place to watch football.

Rakwon Beer Bar Yellow
North Korean Drinks – Draft Beer

You can read about Rakwon Beer Bar here.

North Korean Drinks – The Whisky scene

North Korean started making their own whisky in 2019. It is very much modeled on Johny Walker, as you will see from the bottles. Is it good? Not really, but as the only North Korean whisky, it is also the best one.

north korean whisky
North Korean drinks – local whisky

To read about North Korean Whisky click here

Best North Korean soft-drink

North Korea make an apple-cider, without alcohol that I guess you could cal an apple-soda. This is one of the best drinks I have had in the world, perhaps tied with North Korean cream-soda. Both come in big bottles and are of a very high quality.

Best North Korean Cola?

North Korea make their own version of coke. It is not bad, but is also not exactly world beating. It is though better than their version of Sprite. Sadly there is no North Korean Fanta yet, but we live in hope. 

coca cola
North Korean Coke

To read about North Korean coke click here

North Korean drinks – The Ginseng scene

North Korean make Ginseng EVERYTHING, from candy to high-octane liquor. I particularly like the Ginseng liquor which includes the root in the botttle. Ginseng tea is also not only very good, but is available to buy as a gift and take out of the country. 

North Korean Drinks – One shot!

The infamous “snake shot”. North Korean super strength soju with a dead snake inside. Shots cost less than 50 cents and it is not for the faint hearted. Particularly good on the rest stop on the way to Wonsan. 

To read about Wonsan click here.

Weirdest North Korean Drink

Tiger-bone whisky, which you predominantly find in the special SEZ of Rason. Not a whiskey as such and it does involve drinking bits of an endangered species, but apparently it is really “good for the man”. What is not to like?

North Korean Wine

Despite having grapes, there is not much of a wine scene, although you can get Blueberry Wine on the borderlands of North Korea and some is produced in country. 

To read about the North Korean borderlands click here.

Bonus round – North Korean drink imports

You can actually get everything from tinned coffee, to Malaysian fruit juices and yes Coca-Cola. There are many myths that you cannot get the “real thing” in North Korea, but actually you can. 

And that is the eclectic world of North Korean drinks, plenty to try and you certainly will not go thirsty. 

Written by Gareth

Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.

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