Cocktail Challenge: kimchi 

Hot Chocolate's Luke LeFiles concocts the Malort Drinker's Breakfast, a Bloody Mary for the pros

click to enlarge ANDREA BAUER

After Duchamp beverage program manager Kris von Dopek challenged him with kimchi, Luke LeFiles of Hot Chocolate headed straight to his friend Bill Kim, the "kimchi master" behind Urban Belly and Belly Shack. Kim supplied him with some, and Hot Chocolate chef-owner Mindy Segal gave him the idea of putting it through an extractor to make a kind of kimchi "juice." He also dehydrated some to use in a spice combination rimming the glass. "Everybody kept saying, 'Bloody Mary, kimchi Bloody Mary,'" said LeFiles, but rather than go that route he concocted a variation of a bull shot (a Bloody in shooter form, with beef stock or bouillon in place of tomato juice) that's "definitely for the hard-core." "Would I drink it?' he asked upon tasting it. "Yes. It would be an eye-opener, for sure."

The Malort Drinker's Breakfast

1 oz Sombra Mezcal
1 oz kimchi extract
Juice of half a lime
One bar spoon of reduced veal stock
Two pulls of Bitter Truth celery bitters

Combine the kimchi extract, mescal, lime juice, bitters, and veal stock in a mixing glass. Pour over ice and stir. Strain into a shot glass rimmed with dehydrated kimchi processed with celery seed, kosher salt, Aleppo pepper, and lime zest. Garnish with celery leaf.

Who's Next:

LeFiles has tapped Brad Bolt of Bar DeVille. Originally he wanted to choose bull's balls as his challenge—"I was thinking along the lines of a farm-to-table Red Bull"—but that's already been used in Key Ingredient. So instead he's going with Manischewitz "or dude vodka, he can pick."

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