Why Sesame Is The Unique Flavor You Need When Crafting Cocktails

Black sesame isn't limited to just food. Rather, the ingredient — which boasts both a nutty flavor and trademark dark appearance that's popular in Asia — acts as a secret weapon across desserts and drinks alike. For example, Buffalo, New York's Lake Effect Ice Cream sells a black sesame ice cream — while across the country, everything from brownies to mochi uniquely presents the ingredient. One of the best ways to enjoy sesame, however, is in your drink. Black sesame has cropped up across cocktail menus, solidifying its rightful place at the bar.

Black sesame is rising to prominence because it adds a richness and earthiness to drinks. It flavors spirits and puts an Asian-inspired twist on the most basic of cocktails. Although distinctive in nutty flavor, black sesame is extremely versatile in use, so it works well in all kinds of recipes. For a starting point, try using black sesame in a rum daiquiri, or pair it alongside bitters and coffee for a more unique craft cocktail.

As for how, exactly, to add — and drink — sesame, the choice is entirely yours. Not only can you choose between flavors, you also have your pick of techniques, which range from the subtle to the more sesame-focused.

Sesame introduces new flavors to innovative and classic cocktails alike

To make your own sesame cocktails, you should first consider the various ways in which you can incorporate the ingredient. Forms of sesame can vary from a last-minute garnish to a full spirit fat-wash, so you can decide on your preferred intensity of sesame. 

On the more subtle side, you can try incorporating the ingredient as sesame oil, which is as much about aroma as it is taste. Add just a few drops of oil to the top of a finished cocktail, and you'll bring sesame to the forefront in both taste and smell. For a more technical and sesame-heavy approach, however, there's also the fat-washing technique. This step has been known to flavor all kinds of spirits, so why not add sesame to your spirit? Most commonly, you can try this approach with rum, which tends to join sesame in drinks. 

To update your cocktail accordingly, simply combine rum with sesame oil. Freeze the duo until the fat solidifies, and make sure to strain your alcohol afterward. You can also experiment by adding sesame (tahini) paste to cocktails, or going all-in on sesame seeds. Given this range of sesame iterations, it's no surprise that black sesame warrants a place in the pantry.