Tell us a little about yourself, your family and where you grew up.
I was born in Seoul, South Korea. When I was a little over a month old, I was adopted by my awesome parents. We moved to Hawaii when I was three and spent four beautiful years there. After that, we moved to Yokota Air Force Base in Japan. I'm lucky that my dad was in the military, so me and my mother, who is also South Korean, got to travel back to Korea quite often, no matter where we lived. In 1994, Dad retired after thirty years in the Air Force and we moved to Niceville, Florida. I love this town so much. After my time at Florida State University, I knew I would make this town my permanent home!
How did you get into bartending?
After college, I couldn’t find a job that fit my restless energy. A Bonefish Grill was about to open in Destin and I had very little restaurant experience at that point, but I applied anyway. The proprietor was a fellow Seminole and he took the chance and hired me. After a few months on the floor, he moved me to the bar. Very fortunate to have worked twelve years for that company, they instilled me with an immense amount of knowledge and shaped me into who I am today.
Tell us a little about your bartending career to date.
I've been with Craft Bar since we opened the Grand Blvd location in December and I couldn't be any happier! I am able to craft the most beautiful cocktails with fresh ingredients, much like my previous restaurant. Only now, I get to experiment without boundaries. It's really been liberating, getting to play around and create new drinks, not just what corporate wants.
What are your favorite ingredients that define your style of cocktail?
I like to use fruits that remind me of the places I've lived. Persimmons, pineapple, and starfruit are some of my favs. I like infusing syrups with herbs and different teas to muddle them in.
What cocktail trends or spirits interest you at the moment?
Sake! Ty Ku is my go to brand. The cucumber Ty Ku is amazing when shaken with green tea infused simple.
When you’re not behind the bar, what do you like to drink?
Depends on the weather. On a hot day, I crave an ice cold martini, usually vodka, just slightly dirty, with fresh stuffed blue cheese olives. But I do love me some bourbon!
And finally, is there a special cocktail of your creation that you’d like to share with The Craft Bar fans?
2 oz Cruzan Rum
1 oz Mint Simple
1 oz Pomegranate Syrup
1 oz Citrus
3 Pieces of pineapple
Muddle the pineapple in a shaker tin.
Add the rum, mint simple, pomegranate syrup, and citrus.
Top with ice and shake.
Double strain into a collins glass, over crush ice.
Top with orange seltzer.
Garnish with mint and a pineapple wedge.