Recipe: How to use koji to make an Old-Fashioned

In September, Ann Soh Woods, founder of Kikori whiskey, hosted a one-night workshop in Downtown L.A.’s Arts District that highlighted koji. Woods chose the location, Baroo, a fermentation-driven Korean restaurant, and invited a Japanese koji expert for guests to learn more about this ancient ingredient. The conversation was paired with koji-infused bites such as katsu chicken and koji-fermented sourdough bread, along with craft cocktails made with Kikori whiskey.

The reason why Soh Woods felt inclined to expand people’s knowledge about koji was that it’s a crucial ingredient to creating Kikori.

“I talk a lot about koji. It’s so important. It’s essential to making Kikori,” said Ann Soh Woods. “I would mention digestive enzymes and aspergillus and mold. Then I would wait, and watch this glazed look fall across my audience. Whether that be a consumer, bar, restaurant, media, the distributor, it always happened.”

ALSO SEE: Koji, an ancient Japanese superfood, is having a moment

She didn’t want to lose her audience right then and there. So she came up with an idea.

“When I talk about this particular step in making Kikori, I’d talk about how we would take the rice and sprinkle it with fairy dust,” she said with a laugh. “I’m not that far off, actually, because koji is almost magical, mystical, and it’s definitely extremely versatile. … To kick start that conversion of the starch to sugar, we add that ‘fairy dust.’ ”

“It’s actually a mold called koji. We use white koji. We let it sit for about 24 hours before adding water and yeast. It sits for about 6 days and we add it to a second mash. Then it’s distilled in a stainless steel pot still to retain as much of that rice flavor as possible. Low temperature, low pressure. Then we barrel age in three different types: American, French and cherry casks for 3 to 8 years.”

Soh Woods wanted to showcase how miso and Kikori whiskey work well together at home so she shared this version of an Old Fashioned with us. Enjoy!

Kikori Miso Old Fashioned


1.5 ounces Kikori Whiskey

0.5 ounces Miso-infused simple syrup (recipe below)

4 dashes aromatic bitters

Shiso leaf

Orange peel


Combine all of the ingredients into an Old Fashioned glass and stir; add a large cube of ice or ice cubes. Garnish with a shiso leaf and orange peel.

Miso infused simple syrup


1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1.5 oz red miso paste (Cold Mountain Kyoto Red Miso recommended)


Combine the sugar, water and miso paste into a pot and put over medium heat, bringing it to a boil while stirring with a whisk every few minutes. Once boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for a few minutes, whisking to ensure everything is combined. Carefully strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth set in a strainer and refrigerate until use.

Related Articles

Restaurants Food & Drink |

City Council looks to make it easier to become a street vendor

Restaurants Food & Drink |

Recipe: Make this tasty Mexican dish with your Thanksgiving leftovers

Restaurants Food & Drink |

Build a Better: Thanksgiving leftovers? Hello, sandwich!

Restaurants Food & Drink |

How long does leftover Thanksgiving turkey last?

Restaurants Food & Drink |

Lots of leftovers? 11 recipes for all that Thanksgiving turkey (and more)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Recipe: How to use koji to make an Old-Fashioned
Next post Koji, an ancient Japanese superfood, is having a moment