Alchemist bartender Krystal Khorge gets a kick out of mixology 

click to enlarge Krystal Khorge
  • mike koozmin/the s.f. examiner
  • Alchemist bartender Krystal Khorge enjoys muay thai kickboxing when she’s not crafting Prohibition-era cocktails or custom drinks for her customers.
Climb the many steps to this lounge overlooking Third Street and you will find yourself in a stylish blend of eras. South of Market techies hobnob in plush, vintage-looking leather chairs and couches while films from the 1940s are projected onto the red brick walls. The 2005 animated steampunk adventure “The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello,” a customer favorite, is constantly projected behind the bar, and it lends a spooky atmosphere to the place. Krystal Khorge has previously worked at Jones and Eastside West, and her first bartending job was at Déjà Vu Centerfolds. She’s an avid muay thai kickboxer, and her International Kickboxing Federation tournament record stands at four wins and zero losses.

Does kickboxing expose you to the risk of brain injury? Well, everyone has to wear headgear. I just really enjoy it.

Were the customers at Déjà Vu ever inappropriate, or did being the bartender afford you some degree of respect? People are paying $20 cover charges to come there, and they don’t necessarily respect you just because you’re wearing clothes or behind the bar.

What was Jones like? Jones gets a lot of well-to-do, upper-middle-class clientele. The bar manager, Ryan Hisamune, took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew.

Does Alchemist have any particular approach or philosophy when it comes to making drinks? We’re definitely into mixology, making cocktails that are different and classy. We’re bringing back Prohibition-era cocktails and we’re putting together our own potions. People can come in, name their spirits, they can say whether they want something sweet or citrusy, they can say whether they want it to be spirit-forward. … We can use sweeteners like agave, simple syrup, honey or one of our house shrubs that we make.

Could you elaborate on the concept of shrubs? Shrubs are mixtures of spices and herbs that are sweetened. All our syrups are made in-house.

Do you have any other passions besides kickboxing? I love to travel. I’ve been to Canada, Mexico, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China. Everybody asks me, “What’s your favorite part about traveling?” And I say it’s the immense amount of history these countries have, compared to ours. You go to these places, such as ancient cathedrals or mosques, and you feel like you’re standing beside God.

DRINK:

Smoking With the Devil

2 oz. mezcal

½ oz. port wine

½ oz. agave syrup

½ oz. egg white

¾ oz. lime juice

2 dashes housemade Hellfire shrub

Shake and pour into coupe glass with no garnish.

Bar info: 679 Third St.

(415) 746-9968

alchemistsf.com

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