Naming your bar Zest, a portmanteau of ‘zero’ and ‘waste’, is quite a mission statement, but co-founders Demie Kim, Noah Kwon, Jisu Park and Sean Woo are inching ever closer to realising it. To avoid wasted plastics and cans they make all their mixers from scratch. They also take their honey from urban beekeepers in the South Korean capital, harvest herbs and edible flowers by hand, and put most of their would-be waste to re-use as garnishes, ferments or cordials. As you sip your way through their mindfully innovative menu you could be tasting multiple parts of one item, from peel to seeds.
Sustainability means buying local, too, with herbs and edible flowers from a local farm and an inspired selection of Korean brews and spirits, including wholewheat soju and overproof makgeolli. The golden glow of the back bar is all the more striking because there’s almost nothing on it save bottles of seasonal house-made gins, flavoured with discarded peels, of course. With a share of the profits funnelled into local ecological projects, Zest is at the very forefront of the modern sustainable bar movement. Landing in the list for the first time in the highest position, Zest is the winner of the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award 2023.