If you are one of those who discovered the world of K-dramas during the pandemic, then there is a high chance that you are still dreaming about the handsome “oppas,” often searching for the best Korean restaurant in a city, and enjoying copious amount of soju and beer with kimchi.
K-dramas span every genre and dish out cringe-worthy moments, instances that give you butterflies in your stomach, and scenes that let you escape from the daily humdrum. To enjoy this full package, it’s only appropriate that you have the right drink that elevates your experience.
Alchemy of Souls released sometime last year on Netflix and the second season aired between December last year to the beginning of this year quickly becoming one of the most popular fantasy K-dramas recently. The show takes you on a journey to the world of soul shifters and mages. In the beginning it may seem a bit confusing but as the viewer slowly immerses themselves in the plot of the fictional land of Daeho, it grips them. Beyond the undeniable chemistry between the main leads, this series is so well-made that it surprises viewers at every turn.
Pairing: Stunning cinematography, impressive special-effect and an intricately woven story-line with the ability to teleport you to a land unknown is best paired with a fortified wine. A Port wine (ruby port) with aromas of blackberries, chocolate and plum or a Marsala wine with honey, toffee, vanilla, tobacco and earthy notes hit the right spot.
A slice-of-life drama, this is another gem from the K-drama world released on Netflix this year. The Good Bad Mother revolves around the life of a prosecutor’s wife and their son who grows up against all odds to become a highly ambitious prosecutor after his father’s death. When a tragic accident leaves him with the mind of a child, he and his mother are forced to embark on a journey to heal their broken relationship. Viewers are also treated with the complex equations developing between the locals in a small village. The show starring Ra Mi-ran, Lee Do-hyun, Ahn Eun-jin and Yoo In has an entertaining story-line, and could remind viewers of a Bollywood revenge drama of the ‘90s.
Pairing: The show has intense and emotional moments alongside lighter and entertaining scenes. Rum and Coke’s smooth and slightly sweet notes can help as viewers embark on this emotional roller-coaster ride.
What’s better than bingeing on a drama featuring the most adorable and handsome “oppa,” Ahn Hyo-seop? Watching him play a double-role in a story involving time travel. A young woman mourning the death of her boyfriend accidentally transports back in time in the body of a high school student. There she meets a student who looks like her deceased boyfriend. This is a romantic drama exploring the concept of time and how relationships evolve with it. The plot twists and an engaging story-line with a stellar star cast makes it an interesting watch.
Pairing: Pinot Noir (a red wine) is often considered a timeless wine which can be appreciated at different stages of life. Its ability to age gracefully reflects the characters’ growth and maturity throughout the drama all this while retaining the youthfulness.
This isn’t a story for the faint-hearted. One of the great things about Korean dramas is that either they are absolutely honest and realistic, showcasing dark elements and flaws of the Korean society, or they are highly unrealistic with their expectations of human relations. In The Glory (on Netflix), the heartthrob of many, Korean actress Song Hye-kyo, plays a dark character taking revenge against a group who bullied her during her school days. It is loosely based on a true story of bullying that occurred in South Korea in 2006, following the life of a former victim of school violence returning to her past after 18 years seeking vengeance on those girls who ruined her life. The show explains how revenge can be both sweet and devastating at the same time.
Pairing: The story of The Glory is a revenge drama best served with copious amounts of a drink that can sooth your senses. A gin and tonic with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of orange as garnish could offer not just the required solace to an emotionally invested viewer but also a refreshing bitter sweet aromatic flavour to keep the momentum alive.
For every Ji Chang-Wook fan, The Worst of Evil is a must-watch. One of Korea’s best actors, Wookie (as he is called by his fan club) delivers yet another action-packed gut-wrenching performance in a highly complex portrayal of an undercover police-detective struggling to balance his issues in personal life while dangerously playing with drug-cartels of three countries. Without realising the consequences, he is dragged deep into the world of the evil while his faith in good is just hanging by a thread.
Pairing: For the tense and thrilling moments in this crime drama, pick a bold yet relaxing contrasting option such as a Soju cocktail. The Korean distilled beverage Soju is an integral part of its culture and already becoming a popular beverage outside the country. Soju is often light, fruiter and easy on the palate. While mixing soju with beer (the famous soju bomb) is common, mixing it with a fruit juice like pineapple or peach could offer a fun-twist while making the drink less potent. The flavours can contrast the show’s dark themes and add a touch of sophistication.
Rojita Tiwari is a drinks writer, educator and consultant based in Mumbai.