Milkis Is The Creamy South Korean Soft Drink That Offers A Sweet Boost

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At a potluck, a friend hands you a small and cold canned drink labeled "Milkis" and "strawberry carbonated drink." The drink looks like the Korean rice wine makgeolli and watered-down milk. Taking a sip, the drink fizzes across your tongue and down your throat. It's a creamy soda that tastes like melted strawberry ice cream, and its sweet boost is both surprising and delicious. Emerging from South Korea's eclectic culinary scene, Milkis is one of the country's most iconic and popular drinks. For those who like variety, you'll have many Milkis flavors to choose from, including strawberry, banana, melon, peach, and apple. There's also an original flavor, marketed as "milk and yogurt" flavor.

For U.S. consumers, the wonders of this sweet and milky soda aren't far from reach. A quick search on found three different flavors of Milkis available. This delicious creamy soda beverage has made its journey westward for years now, finding a place on the shelves of Asian supermarket giants like H-Mart, Uwajiymaya, and 99 Ranch Market. And for those who lean toward the convenience of online shopping? Amazon's digital shelves stock this South Korean gem, along with online markets like Umamicart and Bokksu Market. 

Milkis boosts many culinary experiences, from booze to desserts

The concept of Milkis came about in 1919 in South Korea; however, it wasn't until 1989 that the company Lotte Chilsung sold Milkis commercially. The target consumers for this drink were South Korean youths and young adults who had to stay up at night and study. Milkis would provide them with a "sweet boost" or energy for their all-nighters.

Since its inception over three decades ago, Milkis has carved a niche not merely as a drink but as an integral part of South Korean culture and has reached the West with fervor. Whether it's a festive gathering or a casual meal, Milkis is often the drink of choice, alongside spicy Korean fried chicken or as the refreshing chaser to savory and filling Korean BBQ.

And then there's the nightlife: across social media, people create and chug down "Milkis shots." Creative drinkers mix shots of soju, beer, and Sprite to make a boozy version of Milkis. Just note, usually, there's no real Milkis in these shots. Now, jumping over to the realm of desserts, creatives have incorporated Milkis to offer new spins on classics. To name a few possibilities, there are hwachae (or Korean watermelon punch) made with Milkis, Milkis popsicles, or Milkis panna cotta infused with its unique flavor. The sweet and bubbly world of Milkis is vast, and it offers more than a sweet boost these days, as every can is an invitation to explore.