Su jung kwa is a traditional Korean tea made from cinnamon, ginger, spices, sweet dried dates, and pine nuts that’s commonly served as an after-dinner drink or dessert. Chef Hooni Kim serves a chilled cocktail version at his New York restaurant Danji that gets a smoky kick from rye whiskey. Date jujubes, also known as red dates, Chinese dates, or Korean dates, are commonly used in Korean cuisine for their natural sweetness and purported medicinal properties. Both jujubes and dried persimmons can be found online and in most Korean and Chinese grocery stores.
For the Su Jung Kwa Tea
- 1⁄4 lb. fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
- 1⁄4 lb. cinnamon sticks
- 2 dried dates or jujubes
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1⁄4 tbsp. pine nuts
For the Cocktail
- 1 1⁄2 oz. rye whiskey
- 3 oz. su jung kwa tea
- 1⁄4 oz. lemon juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Orange twist, for garnish (optional)
- Make the tea: In a 4-qt. pot, combine ginger, cinnamon, and jujubes with 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved. Let steep for 2 hours; add pine nuts and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Make the cocktail: Fill cocktail shaker with ice and add all ingredients; cover and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange twist, if you like.