For the second time this year, the Union Group hosted a multi-day bar takeover event. Between August 29 and September 1, 2018, 7 Korean bartenders from the top bars in Seoul conducted guests shifts at four different Jakarta bars. Over a four day period, the bartenders brought their signature cocktails from Seoul to share with the Jakarta masses. It was a unique opportunity for local patrons to sample the delicious tipples of Korea. An exhibition of techniques and talent, the bartenders, also brought with them their culture and flavors unique to Korea. The inclusion of ingredients such as Korean ginseng, omija, and jujube transported the tastebuds of the customers to a whole new world.
The drinking culture in Korea, much like in Indonesia is in the process of evolution. Traditionally a Scotch whisky and soju only drink experience is gradually changing into the modern cocktail culture. More of the younger generation of Korean bar patrons are slowly opening up to trying new and experimental drinks. This revolution in drinking started as early as the turn of the millennia. First generation bartenders such as Laki Yoo and Louis Eom set an early standard of bartending. Today, newer generations of bartenders like Hans Lee, Demie Kim, and Bomin Kim are carrying their legacies through exciting new recipes and concepts.
Dohyung "Demie" Kim - Alice Cheongdam
Part of the newer generation of bartenders in Korea, Dohyung "Demie" Kim has accomplished a lot in his 7-year career. Winning the Diageo World Class Korea bartending competition in 2016, he is one of the most exciting young talents in the industry. Currently, he is the head bartender of the elusive Alice Cheongdam bar in the Gangnam district of Seoul, listed at #26 in Asia's 50 Best Bars List.
Demie was first inspired to pursue bartending after watching the Diageo World Class bartending competition in 2010. Amazed by the creative flair and cocktails of the bartenders, he knew that this was his calling. He started his bartending education at the W Hotel in Seoul, working under the tutelage of World Class 2011 winner Mickey Lee. In 2016, Demie won the very competition that sparked his career, the Diageo World Class. His competition-winning Stone Pot cocktail inspired by the traditional Korean dish Samgyetang of his childhood. Often drawing ideas and flavors from the Korean culture, his brand of bartending is not of the conventional.
After his successes in 2016, Demie took the opportunity to work under his hero, Terry Kim. As the head bartender of Alice Cheongdam, Demie creates out-of-this-world cocktails to complement the theme of the bar. Based on the story of Alice in Wonderland, the bar designed to transport you to another world of wonder and delicious tipples. He finds that more and more of the younger generation of Koreans are willing to try cocktails far removed from the classics. Something that he wishes to influence in the future.
"I want to change the Korean bar culture... Introduce them to new cocktails."
Inspired by the traditional drink of the same name, the Sujeunggwa is a boozy version of the Korean cinnamon spiced tea.
- Ron Zacapa 23 YO
- Cinnamon & Pine Nut Syrup
- Aromatic Bitters
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