Christian Suzuki, Wildhawk | San Francisco

Translated as “The Thirteenth Night,” Jusanya takes its name from a short story by Higuchi Ichiyō, the first woman to be published in Japan and an ancestor of Christian Suzuki. The drink, a spin on a dirty vodka Martini, combines sesame-washed fino sherry (in place of vermouth) with a housemade sesame brine, as well as sesame-infused bitters. According to Suzuki, sesame is the one ingredient that’s most evocative of his heritage, drawing from not only Japan, but also El Salvador, where sesame is central to the cuisine. “[Jusanya] is that perfect representation of how two completely different backgrounds can come together and create one homogeneous, beautiful poem,” says Suzuki.


Serving: 1

  • 2 1/4 ounces vodka, preferably Ketel One
  • 1/2 ounce sesame oil-washed fino sherry (see Editor's Note)
  • 1/4 ounce sesame brine (see Editor's Note)
  • 2 dashes orange sesame bitters (see Editor's Note)

Garnish: sesame candy

  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass over ice and stir until chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass.
Editor's Note

Sesame Oil Fat-Washed Fino:
750 milliters fino sherry
0.75 ounces toasted sesame oil

Combine sherry and sesame oil in bottle. Shake and leave in freezer for 24 hours. After 12 hours, give another shake. After 24 hours, strain the sherry through a coffee filter. This may take several times to get all the oil filtered out.

Orange Sesame Bitters:
1 bottle orange butters
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon kombu

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until combined. Pour into pot and bring to simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and chill before using.

Sesame Brine:
1 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container and let sit for 48 hours, then strain out the sesame seeds.

Sesame Candy Garnish:
100 grams isomalt
100 grams glucose syrup
10 grams sesame seeds

In a pot, boil isomalt and glucose syrup and heat until it reaches 260ºF. Add sesame seeds, then remove from heat. Pour mixture onto a silpat and let completely harden at room temperature. Break candy into small pieces and pulverize in blender. Sift powdered candy into an even layer on silpat and toast in oven at 300ºF for 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool, then crack into garnish-sized pieces.