The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Sung Min Park’s Bori’s Old Fashioned

Sung Min Park represented South Korea at the World Class Bartender of the Year final, 2013

Elbon the Table is the restaurant of celebrity Korean chef Hynn Seok Choi, whose creative modern cuisine gives Italian-based dishes a molecular makeover for the discerning diners of Seoul. The restaurant and its adjacent bar are a year old, and their newness is emphasized by the modernity of the interior – there is an LED screen stretching all along one wall. It’s a top-notch facility serving a professional crowd in Itaewon, a booming area that is giving Gangnam a run for its money in Seoul’s high society stakes.

The Bartender

In contrast to Elbon the Table’s technological chef, bar manager Sung Min Park is more traditional in his approach, producing spins on classics. ‘I grew up surrounded by vineyards and watched my mum making jams and wines produced from the grapes,’ he explains, ‘It strikes me how similar the processes I use often are.’ Sometimes Sung Min’s spin comes from Korean ingredients such as ginger and ginseng, which he likes for both taste and health properties. Giving a warm welcome to guests is vitally important he thinks, ‘I usually place the ingredient out on the bar for customers to see so they can follow me as I talk them through the drink, and explain why I’m using certain ingredients.’

The Drink

‘Bori’s Old Fashioned makes sense once you know that Bori is Sung Min’s nickname, it’s essentially his twist on the classic. It relies on Johnnie Walker Platinum Label whisky for its Speyside blend of rich, dark and intense flavour. This is augmented by aged Zacapa bitters, which Sung Min created himself over 4 years.

Into a clean Mason jar Sung Min added 300ml Zacapa rum, 50g of cinnamon sticks, 30g of dry orange peel, 30g of dry lemon peel, 30g of dry grapefruit peel, a handful of roast almonds and 10 cloves. He then sealed the jar and left it in a cool, dark & dry place, shaking once a day. After a month he filtered the liquid through a coffee filter paper into a bitters bottle, and then repeated the process to remove any further sediment over time.

The Technique

Johnnie Walker Platinum Label • 50ml
Prune • 1
Sugar syrup • 5ml
Zacapa bitters • A dash
Garnish: Lemon peel, orange peel, a smoked cinnamon stick and a cherry
Contains 18 grams of alcohol per serve

Mix all the ingredients in a shaker. Pour over ice in a rocks glass. Add the garnish.

Bori’s Old Fashioned is an ideal drink for autumn, best enjoyed with dark chocolate or grilled botargo.

Elbon the Table is the hot ticket in this snowballing zone of Seoul, the drinks first rate, the food exciting and the interior energising.

Sung Min’s Insider’s Guide to Seoul

Place to stay
W hotel

Place to eat
Elbon the table

Place to relax
Speakeasy Mortar

Place to lounge
Glam Lounge

Place to Dance
Octagon club

Place to shop
Dongdaemun night market

Place to visit

Place to see
Gyeongbokgung Palace

Images by newgogi