Ask a Korean: Do Koreans Worship Gin?

Gin, but no juice…

I’m a Gibson girl

It’s true.  I drink too much gin.

Dead Soldiers

I didn’t used to though…and I don’t know that gin is on the radar of most ethnic Koreans.  When I lived in Seoul, none of my Korean friends ever ordered it.  Come to think of it, neither did the expats.  We were too busy with soju, dong-dong ju, and Baek Se Ju to even try.

Last (wo)man standing…

But then I got back to New York and started up with it.  Could have been the Boyfriend who put the itch under my skin.  As a lover of gin and tonics, he must have made me a well-balanced, not-too-sweet version that I gulped down during one of my visits to Santa Monica, his beloved city up ’til July of 2008.  He relocated that year to New York City to take a promotion.

The Bold and Beautiful

I hear from various people how gin has done them wrong, mostly in college, and then swear by vodka.  But gin brings the seasons to mind, spring or winter, with notes of lavender, cucumber, juniper depending on your gin of choice, not found in soju or vodka (unless infused).  Comparing gin to vodka is a comparison of apples and kumquats because there are no nuances and hues of flavor in straight vodka (that I can detect) that abound in gin.  But nuance and hue are not necessarily what people are seeking…

At the bar

One of my favorite places to order gin, Gibson or martini, is at Grand Central Terminal’s Oyster Bar where I go to feel at home in the big city.  Remember how Holly Golightly would taxi herself over to Tiffany’s when she was having the “mean reds”?  Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.  It was my first stop after I got back to town from my three-year stint in Korea.  A perfect homecoming.

Go ahead, make your day!


The ingredients

gin, whichever you like, a jigger at least (1 ounce-and-a-half)

vermouth, Nouilly Prat is our standby

cocktail onions, Tipsy vermouth onions are a good choice


chilled martini glasses

The steps

1. In a shaker, add ice, gin and a generous dash or two of vermouth (read Rosie Schaap’s take on gin:vermouth ratio for some good advice on that topic).

2. Now here is the fork in the road: To shake or not to shake, that is the question.  I shake, but go ahead and stir with a bar spoon if that’s your path.

3. Put the onion into your chilled glass before you pour.  You’re all set.


One thought on “Ask a Korean: Do Koreans Worship Gin?

  1. Pingback: Monday’s Gin | DIY Korean Food

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