Tag Archives: drinking culture


--Informant Info--
Nationality: Korean
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: Seoul, Korea
Date of Performance/Collection: 3 April 2020
Primary Language: Korean
Other Language(s): English

Main Piece:

Original script: 소맥

Phonetic (Roman) script: somaek

Transliteration: (Acronym) Soju and Maekju

Full Translation: Soju and Beer

The following is transcribed from a conversation between the interviewer and the informant.

Informant: Koreans love drinking and there are a bunch of drinking games and traditions, but I think the most commonly known one is So-Maek. It’s basically a cocktail, and you make it by mixing soju and beer. Koreans love drinking so-maek because it’s more delicious than drinking either of them by itself, and it gets you drunk quicker for some reason.

Interviewer: Can you describe how you make this cocktail?

Informant: So basically the ratio of soju to beer is 3:7, that’s kinda the golden ratio. Since soju is much stronger than beer, the more you want to get wasted, the more soju you put and so on. A popular way of mixing this drink is you make a row of beer glasses, and place a row of soju shots on top of these beer glasses. You tap on the soju shot, then it has this domino effect and al the soju shots fall right into the beer glasses.

Interviewer: Are there any other variations of this so-maek recipe?

Informant: Another famous one is mixing called so-maek-col, which is basically so-maek with Coca Cola. Or, mixing soju with Yakult (yogurt beverage) is good too.


My informant is a college student (21 years old) living in Seoul, Korea. Seoul is famous for its nightlife, and with her age, my informant is particularly well versed in drinking culture, as well as being an active participant in it. Another important part of Korean drinking culture is that it’s something you learn from the elders, whether that be your parents or older friends. My informant told me that she learned how to make so-maek from a classmate who was older than her.


The conversation took place over the phone, while it was 12:30 am (PST) for myself and 4:30 pm (KST). The informant was at her dorm room, no other person was present in her room during the talk.

My thoughts:

Soju has become quite popular in the United States over the past decade, it’s not hard to find this alcoholic beverage at bars or restaurants. Like any ethnic culinary traditions, soju and soju cocktails are becoming a trend for a lot of non-Koreans, with more non-Korean establishments selling these recipes. While I think globalization of a culture is beautiful – the fact that everyone around the world can share this great cocktail recipe is exciting- but at the same time I can’t help myself but to think about the dangers of cultural appropriation- price influx and lack of credit to original owners.

Liquor before beer and you’re in the clear – American Drinking Proverb

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Pasadena, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: 04/09/19
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main Piece:

“Liquor before beer and you’re in the clear, beer before liquor never been sicker.”

Context and Analysis:

My informant is a 19-year-old male. The informant claims he first heard this proverb when he was in ninth grade. It was one of the first times he was consuming alcohol and was not paying attention to the type of alcohol he was consuming. He was alternating between drinking beer and simultaneously taking shots of vodka. When one of his friends said to him the proverb. He disregarded the advice as it was too late, and continued to drink. The informant says he did not end the night feeling very well; however, he does not live by the proverb for in other situations when he has followed the proverb’s advice the night has still ended badly.

I have also heard this proverb before and know many people that do live by it. On many occasions, I have even heard it is bad to mix any type of alcohol. Often I do not hear this while I’m in a setting where alcohol is being consumed, but after. Most often it is during the day or after a night of alcohol consumption when someone will make a reference to the proverb, and claim the person who had a bad night was at fault because they did not follow the proverb’s advice. After looking further into this proverb, I found many sources claiming it was a myth. One of the most reputable sources I found was by CBS News, they claim “hangovers are more dependent on the total amount of alcohol consumed, rather than the order of drinking.” The rhyme of the proverb makes it catchy and easy to remember. I believe this is a significant factor in what makes this proverb so popular. Keeping in mind my informant’s age I also believe it is a proverb most often found in younger circles where there is less exposure to alcohol. Most teens are still in the experimental phase of alcohol consumption in their lives, and therefore are more susceptible to catchy phrases such as these that are not true.


“Salud Chindon”

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Dallas, Texas
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/6/19
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Italian, Spanish

Main piece: Proverb

“Salud Chindon”


“Good health for a hundred years”

Background Information:

Why does the informant know this piece?

Her family is Italian American and uses this proverb.

Where did the informant learn this piece?

She learned it from her family who uses the proverb when drinking or making toasts.

What does it mean to them?

It means to always keep your health as a priority and to wish good fortune and health to your loved ones and friends.

Context: This is an Italian American proverb that descends from the Italian word “Salute”, which means well being, and the Italian phrase “cent anno” which means one hundred years. It is a phrase that Italian Americans have blended the original Italian words to both sound differently and a slightly different mean than the direct translations. This proverb was collected in person at the informant’s dorm in Dallas, Texas.

Analysis: I find this proverb to be interesting because it is an example of a language being “Americanised.” It is an example of Italian Americans still connecting with their Italian culture but creating their own folklore for their community. 


Don’t Drink and Drive

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Canadian
Age: 20
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/21/2019
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):


This drinking game is played using any game from the Mario Kart franchise. A race is setup that contains only human players, no computer players. All players begin with a full drink (most frequently a glass bottle of beer). Before a player crosses the finish line of the race, their drink must be completely finished. The main obstacle to this, however, is that players may only drink while they are pulled over to the side of the road and completely stopped-in-place.


The informant has played this game with friends in the past. He says that there are two main strategies that people tend to employ, either chugging the entire drink at the beginning of the race, or chugging the entire drink at the end of the race. He believes that stopping to drink more than once during a race would lead to too much wasted time over the course of the entire race.


Mario Kart has been a staple of Nintendo game consoles for decades, and it makes sense that college kids would mix a party game they grew up with and had a “muscle-memory” sort of ability to play it with alcohol. The colorful graphics and clear iconography of Mario Kart are pleasant and readable, which are also highly important to someone who is more-than-buzzed. Because Mario Kart also famously “rubberbands” players who are falling behind by giving them powerful items, the game is rewarding and fun to players who are playing poorly as well as players who are playing well.