Thanks to chefs like David Chang, Bill Kim and Roy Choi, Korean food is no longer a mystery to Americans. Kimchi is commonplace. Bulgogi is so well known it’s showing up in tacos. Kalbi is a cookout staple. But Korean spirits are a different story. Aside from the occasional shot of soju, most Americans know little about Korea’s boozy offerings.
Oiji, a new NYC restaurant from Bouley and Gramercy Tavern alums Brian Kim and Tae Kyung Ku, is hoping to change that with an impressive list of Korean spirits overseen by GM and beverage director Max Soh. Here, a few Korean spirits and bottlings available at Oiji that you should definitely try.
Makgeolli: Unfiltered Rice Wine
Traditionally drunk by Korean farmers on their breaks, this spritzy, milky, funky beverage is one of the country’s oldest liquors. It’s made with fermented rice, yeast and water and typically comes in at about 6-8% ABV.