Hidden F&B: Koky Lòpez
By Helen Mitternight
Image by Andrew Cebulka
Editor's note: Charleston is such a foodie town that food and beverage superstars are hiding in plain sight, out of theJames Beardlimelight, but still very much creating and serving amazing food and drinks. This series profiles Charleston's "Hidden F&Bs."
"I had a GM who told me I’d get a lot of money as a bartender, but that I should think like a poor person so I could live like a rich person." — Koky Lòpez
Koky Lòpez runs the bar program at Charleston’sBar VautéandBrasserie La Banque.She makes drinks that go with the French food coming out of the kitchen but make no mistake…there is a reason her friends call her Rum and Koky, and she brings the island flavor to the drinks as well.
Favorite kitchen tool or gadget
I love a bar spoon, the 20-inch with the teardrop shape.
In my refrigerator (three things)
I feel so bad to admit this, butRed Bull.But also, hibiscus green tea and pickles.
In my pantry (three things)
Oh my god, I’m SO Puerto Rican! Canned beans, rice, hot sauce.
Beans, of course. And chocolate chip cookies.
My favorite cocktail is the daquiri. It’s perfect for any weather. And I love champagne.
Number of hours you work a week
50 at least!
Customer pet peeve
I’ve been behind the bar for 20 years. So, when a customer comes up and asks if I know how to make an Old-Fashioned. It’s three simple ingredients! It’s not that hard!
Most underrated ingredient
Well, my nickname is Rum & Koky for a reason! Rum has a bad reputation; it’s assumed to give you a wicked hangover. But rum can be subtle.
Best advice a mentor gave you
I had a GM who told me I’d get a lot of money as a bartender, but that I should think like a poor person so I could live like a rich person.
I’m going for a James Beard nomination in the next four years. I’m thinking it so I can manifest it!
If you want to learn more about Lòpez, listen to this month'sCharleston Grit episode of the Hidden F&B podcast! Discover who's hiding elsewhere on national episodes athelenmitternight.com.
Tune in next month when our guest will be Sara Gail, RD, LD, Registered Dietician and owner ofRD Naturals.