In Culinary News: Chingu Soju

Photo by Alyssa Broadus

After trying their hand at making soju, the national spirit of Korea, at home during the pandemic in 2020, Chingu founders Keeyoung Kim and David Son decided to go to the experts for help. A conversation with the owners of Kansas City’s own Mean Mule Distilling Co. on how to make the popular Korean spirit for use at their restaurant bar has resulted in a solid partnership and the first Midwest-made premium-distilled Korean-style soju. Chingu Soju is made right here in Kansas City using traditional distilling methods and the same three ingredients used centuries ago—rice, a traditional fermentation starter; nuruk; and water. The result is a clear, sweet, floral spirit that is perfect to sip neat or in a cocktail. Chingu Soju can be found on the cocktail menu at Chingu restaurant in Westport, which serves it the traditional way or with soju mixers, often seen in Korean restaurants and bars in other cities, or in carafes with two-ounce glasses so diners can pour and mix their own drinks at the table. “Our vision is an extension of what we set out to do with Sura Eats and Chingu Restaurant—to educate Kansas City about Korean culture while providing spaces where longtime friends and new acquaintances can continue to establish community,” Kim says.

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