These Shaved Iced Cocktails Bring the Fun
Written By: Gina Magnuson Getting Our Boozie Blushie on at Blush Ice Bar + East-West Kitchen
Photographed By: Julie Jones
Summertime means one thing: slushies. Now, what happens when our favorite frosty confection pairs with fresh fruit and alcohol? You get the Blush Cocktail, better known as the “Blushie”—Blush Ice Bar + East-West Kitchen’s signature drink. The Gaslamp District eatery has taken icy beverages to the next level, pairing delicious, refreshing drinks with fusion dishes that are chock-full of umami. Owner Taylor Kim worked the “9-5” while moonlighting as a bartender for five years, then continued to bartend in six different restaurants, bars and nightclubs until he opened Blush in San Jose in 2012.
Q: Thanks for chatting with us, Taylor! So, how did you get the idea to start Blush Ice Bar?
Taylor Kim: It started from the idea of the Blush Cocktail itself. One of the regulars at a bar I worked at started modifying a slush cocktail we had on the menu with different fruit flavors. I thought it’d be a great idea to open a bar where this was the drink concept as it let the customers get really interactive with building their own cocktails.
Q: What do you think makes the “Blushie” so unique?
TK: First, it’s a handcrafted cocktail like most quality-driven bars, but we present our cocktails with ingredients in a frosted ice form. It’s visually appealing and really keeps the cocktails cold for a long time. It’s fruit-forward and the flavors are very balanced.
Q: You’re based in the Gaslamp District? What do you love about working in one of San Diego’s most vibrant neighborhoods?
TK: Besides the obvious answer of great weather, it’s meeting new people every day. San Diego is a destination town and we see a lot of people from out of town. Operating in the heart of the Gaslamp District is very exciting and competitive. We have a great community of bars and restaurants and I’m glad people from around the world find it a great place to visit.
Q: What’s your favorite part about running a bar/restaurant?
TK: Creating new products for our guests and just enjoying the company of the people around me. We sometimes forget this industry is about food, drinks and a good time; we gotta remind ourselves of this more often and just smile.
Q: What do you think Blush Ice Bar gives back to the San Diego community?
TK: We really want to drive our focus on being a local-friendly establishment. Being open for a few months now, we’ve learned a few things and we are adjusting our menu to cater to locals. Blush is a come-as-you-are restaurant and bar that features a unique Asian-American cuisine and, of course, San Diego’s one and only Blushie.
Q: Does Blush Ice Bar host events? If so, what events are coming up?
TK: We try to hold 2-3 events every month. These events include art and fashion shows and speed dating, to name a few. We are looking to host a “Best Sushi Roll” competition soon.
Q: Where are your favorite places to hang out in San Diego? Where can we find you on a Saturday night?
TK: I enjoy getting out to La Jolla—it’s just a beautiful beach town. To be honest, on a Saturday night you can find me working at Blush!
BUSINESS MAN: Taylor Kim entered the finance world straight after graduating from University of Washington in 2005 at the age of 21. He worked the “9-5” while moonlighting as a bartender for five years, then continued to bartend in six different restaurants, bars and nightclubs until he opened Blush in San Jose in 2012.
Blush Ice Bar + East-West Kitchen
555 Market St
San Diego, CA 92101
Booze + Ice + Fruit = One Unforgettable Drink