Sustainability-forward Zest is helmed by Demie Kim – formerly of Alice in Cheongdam – along with fellow Korean bartending stalwarts Sean Woo, Jisu Park and Noah Kwon. The bar is a culmination of all things Korean, from ingredients to its minimalist decor that features a bar with no bottles on display, but a prep lab for the cocktail curious to observe.
Minimal waste is the name of the game and each ingredient is utilised to the nth degree. Cocktails also feature lots of local ingredients, such as the Jeju Garibaldi, with speciality regional oranges and Gujwa village carrot. The Jeju orange, or hallabong, is the famous fruit of South Korea’s Jeju Island, and the team upcycles the peels to redistill them into Zest’s house gin and turns the pulp into cordial or sauerkraut. The team also creates their own carbonated drinks, eliminating further plastic and can wastage. Rising a staggering 43 positions from last year’s ranking, Zest is both the winner of the Nikka Highest Climber Award and The Best Bar in Korea.