It is hard not to admire the patience of someone like Keeyoung Kim, chef and co-founder of Sura Eats inside of Parlor food hall, Chingu restaurant in Westport, and now Chingu Coffee in the West Plaza. In an age of instant gratification, he has waited six long years to open his first stand-alone restaurant. With several Korean restaurants in the suburbs that predate him, Kim has chosen to set himself and his food apart by opening his Korean concepts closer to the urban core, in hot neighborhoods from the East Crossroads to west of the Country Club Plaza.
With each new concept, Kim continues to show us the delicious depths of his own Korean cuisine. It began with bowls of bibimbap and kimchi fried rice at his pop-up-turned-food stand, Sura Eats, and has expanded to his cocktail-driven, full-service restaurant and bar, Chingu, which serves dishes like pajeon, a scallion pancake packed with meat or seafood and bossam a family-style platter piled high with Napa cabbage leaves and sliced and boiled pork belly where guests can make their own wraps served with a variety of banchan as sides and condiments. Kim and his business partner, David Son’s, colorful new spot combines common Korean street foods, Korean barbecue, and Korean home cooking—a taste of home that also extends to the drink menu at Chingu.
Local bartender Darrell Loo worked with Kim to create his first cocktail menu for Chingu. A favorite new cocktail on the menu is Love In Space, named after a Korean K-Pop song, as are all the cocktails on the menu. It is evident that Kim and Loo wanted to bring Korean spirits together with ingredients used in a Korean kitchen to inspire the cocktail menu, creating a sense of synergy between the food and drinks.
“The Love In Space is our take on an old fashioned. The major difference is we added cognac to the mix, as well as a gochujang honey, to bring a slight kick and fermented flavor to the cocktail that doesn’t overwhelm. Strangely, it pairs perfectly with the rest of the combined spirits in the drink,” says Kim.
We can’t think of a more perfect drink to make the love in your life this year for Valentine’s Day and beyond. Cheers to a cocktail that is sweet and spicy with a boozy kick.
Love In Space
- 1 ounce Old Forester 100 Bourbon
- 1 ounce Pierre Ferrand Cognac
- 2 teaspoons (or bar spoon) gochujang-honey*
- 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Stir with ice in a mixing glass, pour over ice (large ice cube if available) in a rocks glass. Garnish with orange peel.
- 33 ounces gochujang
- 33 ounces honey
- 20 ounces water
Combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Let sit at room temperature for two to four hours and strain.