The Pungent Kick Of Wasabi Spices Up Cocktails With A Flash Of Heat

Of all of the ways to elevate a cocktail, adding spice is perhaps one of the most fun. From a ranch water cocktail to a classic spicy margarita, there are so many recipes that encourage adding heat to drinks, usually with the addition of chili peppers or chili powder. For a really unique punch of flavor, however, you will need to look beyond the standard spicy ingredients. Next time you want to kick up your cocktail a notch, we recommend adding wasabi.

If you have ever indulged in a plate of sushi before, you know about wasabi. This pale green rhizome plant has a uniquely intense flavor and scent. It tastes and smells similar to horseradish but with a slightly more mustardy and aromatic lean. As a result, not only does wasabi deliver the thrilling sensation we seek when reaching for a spicy cocktail, but it also provides a bright, vegetal flavor that pairs well with a wide variety of spirits and plays nicely with many types of mixers, from fruit juice to cream.

How to add wasabi to your drinks

While fresh wasabi is certainly an aspirational ingredient to add to your cocktails, it is virtually impossible to get your hands on unless you have access to specific specialty grocers. For this reason, it is usually easier to seek out dried wasabi powder, which can be found at spice shops and many supermarkets. In the most dire of scenarios, it is reasonable to simply substitute horseradish in place of wasabi, thanks to its similar flavor profile.

Once you have obtained this ingredient, there are many ways to incorporate it into your cocktail of choice. The simplest option is to add the wasabi directly into the beverage, though there are alternative approaches depending on the intensity of flavor and level of complexity you desire. For the most flavor, you will either want to infuse your spirit of choice with wasabi, or create a wasabi simple syrup. For more delicate palates, try rimming your glass with wasabi salt, which will provide a gentler hint of heat.