North Korea's At It Again


It's a bit hard for me to believe he did it again. Bastard.

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Now as President Obama, the European Union, and the United Nations thinks about what to do, what are we, the citizens of the world, to do about this evil power sneaking its way via detonated warheads into our collective consciousness? Well, it may be a surprise to you—or it may not be—that I've come up with a cocktail to keep us busy. And its intent is to somehow counteract the iniquitous control of the North Korean leader (just don't ask me exactly how it's to do that).

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I call it Lights Out, Kim Jong-Il and you can make up your own mind about how to exactly interpret that. I know there's not much available in North Korea as far as fresh and good ingredients go (in fact, I don't think there's much available of anything outside what the government has access to), so I've included some good and tasty ingredients that I've found readily available in their friendly neighbor to the south. For the cocktail I made, I used some fresh ginseng I bought a short while ago in Busan and had kept in the freezer of my Bangkok apartment. If you can't make it any time soon to that coastal gambling destination in South Korea, you can pick up some dried ginseng from your local Asian market or Korea Town. (Here are some of the shots I took during my trip to Busan.) The alcohol base is soju, which is a Korean spirit made from rice and/or sweet potato and/or other carbohydrates and—rapidly gaining popularity—is pretty much readily available worldwide these days. It is a nice colorless spirit with a distinctive and light flavor and can greatly vary in alcohol content. For this drink, you should use something a bit stronger than 25%; 40% is ideal. And finally, there's a touch of grenadine in this drink, but it's nothing like the Rose's grenadine most American bars are stocked with. You should use a real pomegranate syrup. Here, I'm recommending a product called Authentic Grenadine by Stirrings. It's a full 30% juice and without all the artificial colors and flavors that most "grenadines" are loaded with, so it only adds a slight touch of color to the cocktail, so don't expect fire engine red to be poured out into your glass.

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Okay, then. Here's how to make one of these detonatable drinks yourself:


Infuse as much soju as you want with ginseng by adding about one fistful of ginseng to one bottle of soju. Allow to sit at room temperature for one week. Do not discard the ginseng.

1½ oz ginseng infused soju
½ oz orange liqueur
½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ oz Stirrings Authentic Grenadine

Fill your favorite stemmed glass with ice and allow to chill while mixing the drink. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Then fill the shaker with ice and shake well. Twist out the ice from your chilled stemmed glass. Strain through a fine strainer (double strainer) into the glass. Garnish with a ginseng root. Enjoy while watching Anderson Cooper.

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Take a sip of the world, but do it slowly.


[Bangkok, Thailand]