What is the all-time best dive bar jukebox song? “I’m a Korean-American who’s spent 80 percent of her life working in hip-hop. So… I haven’t spent that much time in dive bars, but I’ve spent eons in karaoke bars and grimy clubs. In both of those settings, any Biggie song makes me feel at home, any Mobb Deep song off the album Hell on Earth makes me hype, and “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League makes me sing like I don’t know I’m off-key.”
Name the first good drink you ever drank and where you had it. “Oh, I didn’t even know what a good drink was for so many years. I’m lucky my palate wasn’t scorched by years of struggle cocktails: tacky gimmick mixers by celebrity mixologists, bottle-service beverages poured out in dark clubs, and expensive headache-inducing Champagnes. I think the first good drink I had was in a Korean BBQ. It was a very simple, very humble makgeolli, which is a Korean rice “farmer’s liquor,” homemade by the chef’s grandmother. More recently, I enjoyed a reddish Kawaba Beer with some extremely amazing omakase sushi at Cagen in NYC’s East Village. I guess what I’m saying is that the quality of a drink to me is tied to its context and not its name brand.”
What book on cocktails, spirits, or food is your go-to resource? “I became a fan of the Smitten Kitchen website after I had my son three years ago. I was desperate for easy to make, home-cooked meals that could be wrapped up and reheated, and Deb Perelman’s down-to-earth recipes were reliable and comforting. Her new cookbook is all of the same, but paired with beautiful photos and charming explanations.”
Do you have a signature drink? If so what’s in it? “I can make a very rudimentary Michelada—Mexican beer, limes, salt, hot sauce.”
What’s your favorite late-night guilty pleasure snack? “S’MORES! Why wait for s’more opportunities to come to you on vacation when you can just grab a couple takeout chopsticks, graham crackers, Hershey’s chocolate bars, and Stay Puft Marshmallows, and make the magic right there over your stovetop at home?”
Is there one musician dead or alive you’d like to have drink with? And what would you drink? “Soju in a scooped-out watermelon at a club in K-Town with Rihanna would be so fun.”
What’s your favorite shot and a beer combination? “Absolut Lime and Sapporo.”
Currently, which city has the best nightlife scene? “Hmm… Atlanta. Especially if you want to hit their legendary strip clubs. Great trap music, lemon-pepper wings, and superhuman dancers.”
What song gets a party started? “Anything from Bad Boy Records from the late ’90s.”
You’re featured in the new AbsolutTruth campaign about New York City nightlife and culture. Which old-school New York club do you wish was still open? “Moomba.”
Minya Oh, better known as Miss Info, was a DJ on New York’s landmark hip-hop station Hot 97 for a decade. She also worked as a writer and editor for MTV News, Glamour, Vibe magazine, Rolling Stone, and XXL, and is author of Bling Bling: Hip Hop’s Crown Jewels. She currently runs the blog MissInfo.TV, is the host of the video series “Food Grails” on Complex, is the co-host of the podcast In Real Life, and is style director at Stadium Goods.
Miss Info recently joined DJ Stretch Armstrong, Jim Jones and other New York icons for the #AbsolutTruth campaign–exploring their unfiltered truths on the past, present and future of the city’s culture and nightlife. Later this summer, Miss Info will join Absolut to bring a historic nightlife venue back from the dead for a one-night only event in NYC.
Interview has been condensed and edited.