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How Much Soju To Get Drunk?

Will Beck
Last Updated: February 28th, 2023

If you spend a lot of time in Korea or enjoy dining in Korean restaurants you’re likely familiar with Soju. If not, Soju might be a bit of a mystery to you. So you may be asking, what is Soju and how much does it take to get drunk?

What is Soju?

Soju is a distilled liquor that originated in Korea. Like many other distilled spirits, Soju is made by fermenting and distilling grains or other starches like potatoes.

Unlike many other kinds of liquor, Soju is relatively low in alcohol percentage. Soju is right in that middle ground between beer and wine and the stronger distilled drinks.  

How Much Soju to Get Drunk?

soju shots

We’re used to decoding how much to drink in regard to low alcohol drinks like beer and wine or high alcohol drinks like Whiskey, Vodka, or Tequila.

Soju is a bit trickier to figure out due to its middle-of-the-road strength. There are also factors that can greatly affect your level of drunkenness.   


Soju is 48 Proof or 24% alcohol by volume. Your average beer is 4%-7% ABV and wine is around 13% ABV. On the other end of the spectrum, hard alcohol ranges from 80 Proof (40% alcohol by volume) to even higher. 

If you’re used to regulating your consumption based on the more common beer or hard alcohol, you can drink about five times less Soju as compared to beer and about two times more Soju as compared to hard liquor.    

How You Drink Soju

In addition to the ABV or strength of Soju, how you drink Soju has a major impact on how your body absorbs the alcohol. If you’re taking shots of Soju frequently without mixing in water or other non-alcoholic drinks you will tend to get drunk fast. 

If you drink Soju at a slower pace, mix Soju in a cocktail, or drink a lot of water while you drink you will stay sober for longer.

The most common way to imbibe Soju is straight in a small glass but there are also a fair number of Soju cocktails as well.    

Gender and Body Composition

Regardless of the type of alcohol you’re drinking, your gender and body composition can play a role in how much alcohol will get you drunk.

There are exceptions to every rule but generally, women have a lower tolerance than men. Also, people who weigh more are able to drink more alcohol before becoming drunk.

Not all body weight is equal, however. If you have a high body fat percentage your alcohol tolerance is lower than someone with a lower body fat percentage.

Looking at the reasons above, a large man with low body fat can get away with drinking the most and a small woman with high body fat will get drunk faster.


Do you drink Soju moderately but frequently or do you not drink much and then go crazy drinking Soju at a party or wedding? Depending on which one you are you may feel the effects of alcohol differently. 

If you’re used to drinking you know your limits better and have more experience handling yourself while drinking. This can still lead to a precarious situation because you may have consumed more alcohol even though you still feel in control. 

If you’re more of a lightweight or binge drinker you process alcohol in a separate way. You may drink a bit more recklessly but you also feel it harder.

It’s best to try to be a combination of the two. Slow and steady and listen to your body when it tells you you’re getting too drunk. 


How strong is Soju?

On average, Soju is 48 Proof (24% alcohol by volume).

Will Soju give you a hangover?

Even though Soju is a clear alcohol that is lower in ABV than some spirits it can indeed still give you a hangover. 

Is beer stronger than Soju?

Soju is stronger than beer. Even the most powerful barrel-aged stouts top out at near 15% ABV which is still considerably lower than Soju’s 24% ABV.

How Much Soju To Get Drunk – Conclusion


Soju is much stronger than beer or wine but not nearly as strong as other hard alcohols. Soju is a clear smooth distilled alcohol that is traditionally consumed straight up. 

The current generally accepted blood alcohol level to be considered drunk is .08. The average man (198 pounds) can drink around 8 drinks (1.5 oz each) over a two-hour period before becoming drunk. 

The average woman (166 pounds) can drink around 6 drinks (1.5 oz each) over a two-hour period before becoming drunk. These levels can go up or down based on some of the factors discussed above.

About The Author

Will Beck

Will is a true digital nomad, taking his work on the road at every opportunity. His first love is coffee, with whiskey a close 2nd. He loves nothing more than enjoying a perfectly brewed coffee with spectacular scenery whilst he coordinates behind the scenes of the Drink Stack blog!

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