If you’re not already a fan of BTS, the biggest band in the world, then you might not know the scope of the media they make. The Korean group are musicians and performers of course, but they are also reality TV stars, vloggers, and—since the launch of YouTube web series Suchwita in December 2022—talk show hosts… OK, that last one mostly only applies to Min Yoongi, the rapper-producer who also goes by the stage name Suga in his BTS work and Agust D in his solo work.
Suchwita is an interview and drinking web series, hosted by Suga, and simultaneously released on YouTube and Korean platform Weverse. In “Episode 7,” Suga told fellow BTS member and episode guest Jimin that he started the show so the group members would have a welcoming place to promote their solo albums upon release, but Suchwita is predominantly not a show about BTS, even though Suga is at the heart of it. Of the 13 episodes released as of this writing, four of them have featured BTS members; the other eight have been conversations between Suga and various non-BTS members of the Korean music, film, and TV industries.
The talk show combines a few classic elements: an in-depth yet casual interview between two people working in the Korean entertainment industry, the introduction of Korean cuisine or snacks, and—most relevant to our purposes today—a drink of the guest’s choice. Usually, the drink is alcoholic, but it doesn’t have to be. The drink, like other elements of the program, allows guests the opportunity to share a story or personality trait as they sit down for the interview—and has me creating a completely subjective hierarchy of episodes based on those choices. Here is a ranking of Suchwita episodes, based on the guest’s drink choice.
12) “Episode 9,” Agust D
Drink choice: zero-sugar Jinro Soju
The name Suchwita is a portmanteau of “Suga,” Suga’s name, and “Daechwita,” one of Suga’s most popular solo songs. Together, the words are an abbreviation of the phrase “getting drunk with Suga time.” In this special episode, Suga’s music alter ego, Agust D, comes on the show to promote his D-Day album, so the show needs a new host—and a new name. Enter RM, BTS’ leader, who takes over to talk all things D-Day with Suga, temporarily renaming the show “R-Chwita,” drinking time with RM.
For some talk show hosts, it might be embarrassing to have your featured episode ranked last, but I’m sure Suga regrets nothing. For the episode, he brings a zero-sugar version of Jinro Soju, one of the most popular beverage brands in Korea. Jinro is one of the official sponsors of the episode, and Suga—who has an ongoing bit in which he pauses whatever he is doing, turns to the closest camera, and holds up a sponsored product—is ready to devote himself to the promotion of this product. That being said, zero-sugar soju sounds terrible.
11) “Episode 8,” Yeonjun & Taehyun (TXT)
Drink choice: Ballantine 21-Year-Old Scotch Whisky & Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve 1824 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Oh, sweet Yeonjun. The 23-year-old member of K-pop group Tomorrow By Together (aka TXT) has the honor of being the only Suchwita guest thus far to get pretty tipsy, becoming increasingly complimentary of Suga as he does. Luckily, he’s amongst friends. Taehyun is his bandmate, Suga finds it cute, and most viewers probably have had a similar experience: getting drunk in front of someone you admire in your early 20s, as a strategy to combat nerves. Still, even though I am a whiskey fan, I am ranking these excellent whiskeys low here—for what they did to Yeonjun.
10) “Episode 4,” Hoshi (Seventeen)
Drink choice: Jack Daniels
Tennessee whiskey. A totally solid choice for Hoshi, aka Kwon Soon-young, a 26-year-old singer, dancer, and choreographer in K-pop group Seventeen. With Jack Daniels (which, predictably, is a bit more expensive in Korea) in hand, Hoshi spends much of the episode politely refusing to accept Suga’s humble dismissals about BTS’ role in the growth of K-pop worldwide, culminating in Suga giving a tipsy Hoshi a tour of his studio. It is perhaps the sweetest episode—and that’s a highly competitive category.
9) “Episode 2,” Shin Dong Yeob
Drink choice: Leroy Bourgogne Blanc
White wine might seem like kind of a basic drink choice, but grape-based wines are actually relatively uncommon in Korea—though their popularity is on the rise. This pricey bottle of Leroy Bourgogne Blanc is a nice, classy choice for a conversation about Shin Dong Yeob’s decades-long career as a comedian and talk show host in Korea.
This is the first episode in which it became apparent that one of Suga’s missions with Suchwita is to talk to veteran performers he respects in order to get their insights into how to maintain an entertainment career not just across a decade, but across a lifetime. In it, 52-year-old comedian Shin shares his honest thoughts with an inquisitive Suga, encouraging him to keep going.
“The biggest strength fans get from music is, the moment they listen to it, you think back to that time,” Shin tells Suga. “No matter how much science develops, I don’t think there will ever be a time machine. But the one thing that could give you a journey through time … only music can do that.”
8) “Episode 10,” Woozi (Seventeen)
Drink choice: Iced black tea
Lee Ji-hoon, aka Woozi, is the 26-year-old vocalist and producer of BTS’ fellow third-generation K-pop group Seventeen. Around the HYBE office, out of which both BTS and Seventeen are based, Suga and Woozi have a bit of a reputation as twins. They look similar but are also both total music nerds who are deeply focused on writing and producing music for their respective groups.
For the show, Woozi brings iced black tea that’s “always at the office.” I’m not gonna lie—this is giving “I forgot to do my homework until I was on my way to class” vibes, but Woozi was probably busy learning the difficult choreography for Suga’s “Haegeum” in order to film a TikTok challenge, so I am willing to let it slide. Also, I have a special place in my heart for the guests who don’t drink alcohol, and iced tea does sound pretty refreshing.
7) “Episode 5,” Tablo (Epik High)
Drink choice: Irish Slammer (paired with a side of strawberries)
Tablo is a bold man. We know this from the red beret he wears for his Suchwita debut. And we know this from his 20 years as the leader of hip hop group Epik High, one of the K-pop groups that most inspired a young Suga to pursue music. But, most of all, we know this from his Suchwita drink selection: Irish Slammers, aka a shot of Irish cream and whiskey dropped into a beer (and the drink Suga teaches youngest member Jungkook about in the Malta-set third season of BTS travel show Bon Voyage!).
This episode pairs well with “Episode 4.” While “Episode 4” consists of Hoshi gazing with heart eyes at Suga, “Episode 5” consists of Suga gazing with heart eyes at Tablo, thanking him for his music and the path he has set for BTS. “Namjoon (RM) and I always say Epik High made our team,” Suga tells Tablo. “That’s how much we rely on you. And I always end up listening to Epik High’s music when I’m feeling exhausted and don’t feel like doing anything or have a lot of worries.” That’s not just the Irish Slammer talking.
6) “Episode 3,” Taeyang (BigBang)
Drink choice: Sikhye and Sujeonggwa
Taeyang, or Dong Young-bae, is a 35-year-old member of BigBang, one of the most iconic K-pop groups of all time. As a second-generation K-pop success story, and a group that also embraced the hip hop and rap genres, BigBang was a major influence on BTS and Suga doesn’t waste an opportunity in this episode to tell Taeyang embarrassing stories about their hero-worship of their sunbaenims. At one point, he completely blows up fellow BTS member Jimin’s spot about just how much Jimin has looked up to Taeyang since they were young.
For the show, Taeyang brings two traditional Korean beverages—both non-alcoholic. Sikhye is a sweet drink made of fermented malt and wine, and sujeonggwa is a cinnamon punch. They are both traditionally enjoyed around the Lunar New Year, which is when Taeyang visited Suchwita, to promote his new single, “VIBE,” featuring Jimin. The drinks give a cultural grounding to the conversation between two superstars who have brought Korean music to fans around the world.
5) “Episode 6,” Lee Sung Min
Drink choice: Americano
K-drama fans may recognize 54-year-old actor Lee Sung Min from the 2023 hit series Reborn Rich, but he’s been working in the industry for a long time—starting out as a struggling thespian in Daegu, Suga’s hometown, before becoming a successful TV and film actor in Seoul. Lee and Suga bond over the struggles they faced at the beginning of their respective careers, when neither had success or money and didn’t know if they ever would. “When I was young,” Suga tells him, “I looked up how many celebrities were from [my] neighborhood, and your name came up. So I remember thinking, ‘If I make it, maybe I’d get to meet you one day.’”
Lee says he can’t drink at all, noting “I was born that way,” so he brings coffee instead—one of the world’s most popular beverages. Lee loses points on my highly subject ranking for seemingly not having packed the Americanos himself (he has trouble opening the tumblers they came in, which leads to an adorable moment when both he and Suga are flustered), but he gets extra points because BTS has an early, lesser-known song called “Coffee” that Suga helped write.
4) “Episode 7,” Jimin (BTS)
Drink choice: Soju
BTS member Jimin stops by Suchwita for the show’s seventh episode—ostensibly, to promote his new solo album, Face, but really, seemingly, to check out the set. “The space is smaller than I thought it would be,” Jimin tells his friend upon entering.
Jimin goes classic with his drink choice, bringing soju—Korea’s national liquor (adult Koreans drink 1.5 bottles per week, on average), and a sul Jimin and Suga have shared before. “When we were younger, the first alcoholic drink I bought you was soju,” Suga tells Jimin, as they briefly recount “the dumpling incident,” a fight Jimin got into with friend and fellow member Taehyung, and that Jimin wrote about in BTS song “Friends.”
The two quickly fall into a comfortable conversation, discussing Jimin’s upcoming music show promotions (Suga is coming), Suga’s upcoming concert tour (Jimin is invited), and BTS’ planned reunion in 2025 (we’ll all cry). Soju may be simple, but the drink shared by friends and family across Korea every week is the perfect accompaniment to a comfy conversation between loved ones about the past, present, and future. “I would like to go to 2025,” Jimin tells Suga, in answer to the Suchwita host’s go-to question about time travel. “By then, we’ll all be [back] together. I wonder what we’ll be like too.”
3) “Episode 1,” RM (BTS)
Drink choice: Kavalan single malt whiskey and Moonbae Sool
In Suchwita’s inaugural episode, Suga invites fellow BTS member RM to talk about his new solo album, Indigo. RM, the leader of BTS, is very thoughtful and measured in everything he does, and his drink selection for a guest appearance on Suchwita is no different.
For the occasion, RM brings a Kavalan single malt whiskey—featured in one of his favorite recent movies, Decision to Leave—and Moonbae Sool, a Korean-made soju. During the episode, the two friends and colleagues talk about their 15 years working side-by-side in the Korean music industry. It’s a sweet and comfortable start to the talk show, bolstered by RM’s excellent drink choices that recognize the international scope of BTS’ fandom and the Suchwita audience: one is a Taiwanese whiskey, the other a traditional Korean liquor.
Both drinks are deliciously complex and lead to a passionate conversation between the two about the importance of fannishness. “To be a fan or a mania of something, not necessarily a person, in life … I call this ‘living with love,” says Suga, after RM broaches the topic. “Those who have love and those who don’t have different qualities of life.”
2) “Episode 11,” Lee Nayoung
Drink choice: homemade infused liquor, with soju
Suchwita’s first and only woman guest thus far has been actress Lee Nayoung (Romance is a Bonus Book), who absolutely knocked the assignment out of the park by bringing a precious homemade liquor to share with Suga. The 44-year-old actress came on Suchwita to promote her latest K-drama One Day Off, which is about a high school teacher who spends her saturdays going on day trips in Korea, but she and Suga mostly end up looking for points of comparison between their two lives. Though the conversation starts off a bit stilted, the two eventually find a level of talk-show empathy that Drew Barrymore would approve of.
Lee shares a story about the death of her beloved dog. Suga insists he loves cute things. Through it all, they share a liquor infused with medicinal herbs, fruits, and flowers (mixed with soju). Lee mentions that her friend (hopefully, one of the friends she mentions is a BTS fan) gifted it to her a few years prior, and implies she has been saving it for a special occasion. She understands the preciousness of Suchwita.
1) “Episode 12,” Jin (BTS)
BTS member Jin easily nabbed the top spot on this list by bringing not one, but three traditional alcohols along to the Suchwita appearance he filmed literal days before he departed for the military. Perhaps we should have expected this from the man who created an entire four-part series in 2022 called Jin’s Traditional Alcohol Journey. (The mini-show follows the superstar and Korean celebrity chef Baek Jong-won as they explore traditional alcohol brewing methods.)
For Suga’s show, Jin shared “Brother of Four Seas,” an alcohol he made with artisan Park Rok-dam, who has spent the last 30 years studying Korean traditional alcohol and restoring recipes. Jin also brought a creamy makgeolli called Baek-geolli (after Baek Jong-won) and gamhongro, a medicinal soju with an 80% ABV. “You’re like an ambassador who promotes Korean traditional alcohol,” Suga tells Jin, after Jin spends the first eight minutes of the episode unveiling and explaining each of his homemade alcohols. Yes, yes he is.
You can catch new episodes of Suchwita on YouTube.