Bottoms up! Drinking Culture in Korea

Alcohol is a staple part of Korean culture. Did you know that there are rules of drinking etiquette in Korea? That’s right, just like many of the other mannerisms in the country, Korea has its own set of formal rules when it comes to drinking with others.

Pouring Drinks

Typically, it is considered polite to fill any empty glass on the table that is not your own. Likewise, if your glass becomes empty, someone will typically offer to fill up your glass as well. This can be problematic if you had no plans of drinking the night away, but as a safe rule, if you don’t want to drink, accept the first glass, but never let your glass empty beyond that.


Drinking with older individuals

There are certain rules for drinking with older individuals. The prior rules very much apply to this situation, but there’s another twist. After an elder pours your drink, it’s considered polite to clink the bottle then turn away from the other to drink. The drink should be taken quickly before turning back to face the other, and it is considered polite to offer to pour a drink for the elder in return.


Receiving Drinks

If you find yourself with an empty glass and an individual holding the bottle towards you, the rule is pretty simple to follow: just like when pouring the drink, you will hold your glass with both hands. One will be supporting the bottom of your glass while the other holds it in place on your palm. As soon as your glass is poured, though it’s not necessary, a thank you and a small tip of the head can be done. Again, if you’re not in the mood to drink to your limit, just keep your glass full. If you’re not one to drink at all it is acceptable to let your friends or workers know too.

The best part of drinking is just to have fun. Korean drinking to pass the time can be an easy way to make great new friends and learn more about yourself and others at the same time.