Category: Alcohol

How to Make Grapefruit Soju

When I hang out with my friend group, we like to try to pair food or drinks to what we’re watching, and with some of us really getting into Korean dramas (K-dramas) lately, that’s meant we’ve been getting into soju, a Korean spirit. Soju is similar to vodka in that it has little to no taste (and sometimes we use it in place of vodka in a cocktail), but comes in at about half the alcohol percentage of vodka, making it an easier drink.

Earlier today I posted my Orange Soju recipe. Typically I make two batches—one orange and one grapefruit.

Here’s how to make grapefruit soju.

The ingredients are pretty simple. Two bottles of soju, two grapefruit, and sugar. After taking this photo I decided to add a lemon to it as well.

Finding soju can be tricky. Some places don’t carry it and then places that do carry it will put it in odd places since it doesn’t really fit anywhere. Here in Manitoba, our government-owned Liquor Marts are inconsistent with where they place it. One store has it with the whiskey, another has it with the sake, and yet another has it with the liqueurs, so I always have to ask the staff where to find it.

Making grapefruit soju—which is basically an infused drink—is ridiculously easy.

Simply cut up the grapefruit and lemon. I usually cut in quarters and then slice. The thinner and smaller the pieces are, the easier it will be for the juice to come out. At the same time, though, you don’t want to spend a lot of time dicing this up into tiny pieces.

Throw the fruit in a bowl and weigh it with a kitchen scale (being sure to hit the “tare” or “zero” button after putting the bowl on it, but before putting the fruit in it. Once you’ve got a weight, you’ll want to add half that weight of sugar.

Give it all a good stir with a spatula or wooden spoon, and then transfer the sugary fruit to a large jar or pitcher. Scrape out all the sugar with a spatula so you get it all in the jar.

Pour the two bottles of soju in, then give it all a good stir, and cover it and let it sit.

You’ll get sugar settling on the bottom and that’s normal. You can just let it sit on the counter for about a week and all that sugar will dissolve. If you want, you can speed up the process a bit by stirring or shaking it daily. Once it’s all dissolved, strain it. While straining, give the fruit a gentle press with the back of a spoon to extract more juice and alcohol.

From there, you simply bottle and enjoy!

We often serve it at room temperature, but serving it chilled is nice too.

As I posted in my orange soju post, I recently came up with an easy cocktail for this:

  • 5 oz grapefruit soju
  • 2.5 oz club soda
  • Mix in a glass with ice

If you have both grapefruit and orange soju on hand (I usually make them both at once), you could also use half orange and half grapefruit.

Drinking it straight, while definitely enjoyable, is a little too sweet and syrupy for my tastes, so the cocktail thins it out a bit and makes it a lot more drinkable.

Grapefruit Soju

Delicious and easy to make, grapefruit soju is a crowd pleaser for drinking straight or for mixing. This does have a bit of the grapefruit bitterness, so folks who don't enjoy grapefruit may not like this as much.
Prep Time 10 mins
Infusing Time 7 d
Course Drinks
Cuisine Korean

Equipment

  • 1 Large jar or pitcher
  • 1 Food scale

Ingredients
  

  • 720 ml Soju
  • 2 Grapefruit
  • 1 Lemon
  • Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Slice the grapefruit and lemon into small pieces. I usually quarter them, then slice the quarters.
  • Place a bowl on the digital scale and press the "tare" or "zero" button. Add the grapefruit and lemon slices to get a weight for the fruit.
  • Press the "tare" or "zero" button again. Add in half the weight of sugar. (If the fruit weighed 800 grams, add 400 grams of sugar.)
  • Mix the fruit and sugar with a spatula or large spoon. Once well mixed, transfer the fruit and sugar to a very large jar or pitcher. I use a spatula to get as much sugar as possible from the bowl into the jar.
  • Pour the soju on top and stir until well mixed.
  • Cover and let sit at room temperature for approximately a week. For the first few days, a layer of sugar will likely settle on the bottom, but will slowly dissolve. You can speed up this process by stirring it daily (or shaking it if it's in a jar with a secure lid).
  • Once the sugar has dissolved. Strain the soju and lightly press the fruit to extract more juice and alcohol.
  • Bottle, chill, and serve. See notes below for serving suggestions.

Notes

Soju is a Korean spirit that doesn’t have much of a taste. Typically it comes in around 20% and with the volume change from added juice, the final product is somewhere around 15%.
You might have to ask for help finding soju at your local liquor store. At my local store it’s with the whiskey, and in another store (in the same chain) it’s with the sake in the wine section.
I usually discard the fruit after straining, but theoretically they’d be alcohol-infused pieces of fruit and fully edible.
Feel free to mix up the citrus fruits a bit. I’ve also posted an orange soju. However, you could mix orange and grapefruit, or even go for a lemon and lime if that’s your thing.
Serving suggestions:
  • Grapefruit soju can be enjoyed straight.
  • If the soju is a bit too thick and syrupy for your taste, an easy cocktail is to add 5 oz orange soju and 2.5 oz club soda to a glass filled with ice. This thins out the texture a little bit and the sparkling water makes it feel a little extra special.
  • If serving this with a meal, I’d suggest making this a dessert drink.
Keyword Alcohol, Soju

How to Make Orange Soju

Soju is a Korean spirit that I liken to a lighter vodka—it has little to no taste and usually comes in around 20%, whereas vodka is usually 40%.

This vodka comparison means it can be consumed a few ways. Sometimes we drink it straight, sipping from shot glasses, sometimes we have it over ice, sometimes we’ll use soju in place of vodka in a cocktail, and sometimes I infuse soju with fruit to make a refreshing, sweet, delicious alcohol.

As far as my infused alcohols go, this one is quite simple and affordable. All you need are two oranges, a lemon, some sugar, and two bottles of soju. Even at the very expensive alcohol prices here in the province of Manitoba, a bottle of soju comes in around $11.

While two lemons are pictured, in the end, I only put in one.

To start, slice up the oranges and lemon. I usually cut them in quarters and then slice it up from there. The more surface area you have, the better—so you ideally wants lots of little slices rather than big, fat chunks.

From there, you’ll want to weigh the fruit using a kitchen scale. With some quick math, you then want to add half the weight in sugar. I think the oranges and lemon came in around 900 grams, so I added about 450 grams of plain white sugar.

Mix up the fruit and sugar to get everything nice and evenly coated. The sugar will help draw the juices out of the fruit, so you really want it all over.

Then pour everything into a very large jar or a pitcher. I’ve got some nice big gallon fermentation jars where I’ve just put a piece of tape over the hole where the airlock goes. (There’s no fermentation here, so you don’t have to worry about gas buildup.)

Pretty soon, if it doesn’t happen immediately, you’ll see a thick layer of sugar settle on the bottom of the jar. This is normal!

Let this jar sit on the kitchen counter for about a week. Over that time the sugar will slowly dissolve. You can speed along the process if you’d like by stirring it daily. Or, if the lid is secure, you could shake it.

Once the sugar is fully dissolved, strain the soju. I usually take a two-litre / eight-cup Pyrex glass measurer and set my mesh strainer on top. I just dump the whole thing out. I’d recommend pressing the fruit lightly with a spatula or spoon to squeeze out some extra juice and alcohol, but you don’t want to squeeze too hard because you might force some pulp through the mesh.

From there, simply bottle it up. Theoretically it can sit on the shelf for months. The sugar and alcohol would preserve everything and prevent mould or other contaminants. However, we rarely have this around for more than a week.

Because of the juice that’s pulled from the fruit you will end up with more orange soju than the original soju you had put in. The two bottles I’d put in amounted to about three cups and I got five cups of final product. This also lowers the alcohol percentage of the final drink, likely putting it somewhere around 15%.

We tend to drink this straight in small glasses, but I sometimes find it just a little too syrupy, so a quick and simple cocktail I devised is:

  • 5 oz orange soju
  • 2.5 oz club soda
  • Mix in a glass with ice

Because I made orange soju and grapefruit soju at the same time, I varied up that cocktail a few times by making it half orange and half grapefruit. Either way, this makes the consistency thinner, the taste slightly less intense, and the whole thing becomes even more drinkable.

This soju recipe is adapted from a TikTok video by Johnny Kyung Hwo Sheldrick.

Orange Soju

Delicious and easy to make, orange soju is a crowd pleaser for drinking straight or for mixing.
Prep Time 10 mins
Infusing Time 7 d
Course Drinks
Cuisine Korean

Equipment

  • Large jar or pitcher
  • Food scale

Ingredients
  

  • 720 ml Soju Soju is sold here in 360 ml bottles, so this is two bottles.
  • 2 Orange
  • 1 Lemon
  • Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Slice the oranges and lemon into small pieces. I usually quarter them, then slice the quarters.
  • Place a bowl on the digital scale and press the "tare" or "zero" button. Add the orange and lemon slices to get a weight for the fruit.
  • Press the "tare" or "zero" button again. Add in half the weight of sugar. (If the fruit weighed 800 grams, add 400 grams of sugar.)
  • Mix the fruit and sugar with a spatula or large spoon. Once well mixed, transfer the fruit and sugar to a very large jar or pitcher. I use a spatula to get as much sugar as possible from the bowl into the jar.
  • Pour the soju on top and stir until well mixed.
  • Cover and let sit at room temperature for approximately a week. For the first few days, a layer of sugar will likely settle on the bottom, but will slowly dissolve. You can speed up this process by stirring it daily (or shaking it if it's in a jar with a secure lid).
  • Once the sugar has dissolved. Strain the soju and lightly press the fruit to extract more juice and alcohol.
  • Bottle, chill, and serve. See notes below for serving suggestions.

Notes

Soju is a Korean spirit that doesn’t have much of a taste. Typically it comes in around 20% and with the volume change from added juice, the final product is somewhere around 15%.
You might have to ask for help finding soju at your local liquor store. At my local store it’s with the whiskey, and in another store (in the same chain) it’s with the sake in the wine section.
I usually discard the fruit after straining, but theoretically they’d be alcohol-infused pieces of fruit and fully edible.
Feel free to mix up the citrus fruits a bit. I’ve also posted a grapefruit soju. However, you could mix orange and grapefruit, or even go for a lemon and lime if that’s your thing.
Serving suggestions:
  • Orange soju can be enjoyed straight.
  • If the soju is a bit too thick and syrupy for your taste, an easy cocktail is to add 5 oz orange soju and 2.5 oz club soda to a glass filled with ice. This thins out the texture a little bit and the sparkling water makes it feel a little extra special.
  • If serving this with a meal, I’d suggest making this a dessert drink.
Keyword Alcohol, Soju