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Using Wasabi In Cocktails: All Your FAQs, Answered

Wasabi Cocktail

We are back with the fiery ingredient that is lending its flavour in every kind of food and drink — wasabi!  The ingredient has a sharp and complex flavour profile that effuses heat, pungency and some bitterness. Now wasabi in cocktails may seem like an unusual pairing but it’s exactly why you should give it a go! Here are answers to some more FAQs that will help you use this ingredient in cocktails confidently.

1. Which Gin Cocktails Complement Wasabi Flavors?

Gin-based cocktails such as Martini or a fizzy gin cocktail that has lime, cucumber or citrusy additions go perfectly well with wasabi's flavours

2. Any Tips for Balancing Wasabi in Gin Cocktails?

The proportion of wasabi in the gin cocktail depends on how hot and spicy you want the drink to be. The spiciness of wasabi is offset through lemon juice or simple syrup. If you are trying to use wasabi for the first time, take half a pea-sized amount of wasabi while making one glass of the cocktail. Taste the drink, and accordingly add wasabi or other balancing ingredients. Also, if you get your hands on the genuine stuff, note that it won't dissolve in the cocktail easily, so you will have to strain the drink after mixing the ingredients.

3. Can I Garnish Gin Cocktails with Fresh Wasabi?

If you have fresh wasabi, then you can grate it into the cocktail for a tinge of spice. If you are not able to get fresh wasabi, then you can serve the wasabi paste on a plate with a bay leaf. Note that the paste has to be consumed before drinking the cocktail.

Wasabi Cocktail

4. What Tequila Cocktails Can Benefit from Wasabi?

In Japan, there is a practice in some bars to lick wasabi (just like licking salt) but keeping the wasabi still in your tongue and then take a shot of tequila and swirl it in your mouth. After swallowing this mix, it is followed by a sip of tomato juice.
You can also have wasabi margaritas, by blending wasabi in the tequila (remember to strain the concoction). It makes for a flavourful drink.

5. Should I Use Wasabi Paste or Fresh Wasabi with Tequila?

You can use either. Just make sure the wasabi has dissolved completely in the tequila. If it doesn't, you need to strain the drink.

6. Are There Traditional Tequila and Wasabi Pairings?

Tequila and wasabi is far from a classic but a great one when done correctly! You can serve tequila with sushi which has wasabi as a condiment. The rice, fish and wasabi pair well with agave in the tequila. You could also use wasabi sea salt as an ingredient in margarita, as a substitute for pepper. Wasabi sea salt can be combined with cayenne pepper (both in equal proportions) and a squeeze of lime juice, and this mixture can be used to rim the top of the glass.

Wasabi Cocktail

7. How to Incorporate Wasabi in Cocktail Presentation?

As mentioned earlier, wasabi paste along with bay leaf can be presented on a plate before serving the cocktail. Wasabi rhizome can be grated over the cocktail to spike the heat of the drink and pepper the top of the drink with tiny green bits. A mixture of wasabi sea salt and cayenne pepper and lime juice can be used to rim the top of the cocktail glass. You can also line the edge of the glass with wasabi paste or wasabi powder.

8. Can I Make Wasabi Syrup for Cocktails?

Yes! Wasabi syrup is fairly easy to prepare. You will need to mix a small batch of rich simple syrup (1.25 sugar :1 water) and mix it with raw wasabi powder (1/20th of the total weight). So combine 60 gms sugar with 25 ml water with a bar spoon of raw wasabi powder and blend it well.

9. Which Other Ingredients Pair Well with Wasabi in Cocktails?

Wasabi has a spicy, pungent and bitter taste and yet it goes with everything, usually to heighten the other ingredients' flavour such as honey syrup, sugar syrup, cacao liqueur, and cream and soy milk. When used as a garnish, wasabi is complemented well by cilantro and bay leaf.

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