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Cocktail Challenge: Tahini

Charlie Schott of Parson's Chicken & Fish whips up a "foofy" drink.


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Challenged by Big Star bartender Cayce Key to make a cocktail with tahini, Charlie Schott of Parson's Chicken & Fish initially tried taking his inspiration from the ingredient's Middle Eastern roots. Because he's usually had the sesame paste in baba ghanoush and hummus, he was going to pair it with lemon juice, but said the two flavors didn't mesh well. "Tahini by itself dries out your mouth," he said, "like a brown paper towel"—and that didn't work with the acidity of the lemon.

Instead Schott created a sweet, creamy cocktail using Batavia arrack, a sugarcane-based Indonesian liqueur that he called "funky and kind of barnyardy," and Don Julio añejo tequila, which he said adds vanilla and chocolate notes. Other elements include Tempus Fugit creme de cacao, coconut milk, heavy cream, chocolate syrup—and, of course, the tahini itself. "Make sure the tahini is the last thing that goes in," Schott said, "because it's really goopy and it's going to gum up your jigger and you're not going to get accurate measurements after you use that."

After shaking all the ingredients with ice and straining them into a chilled glass, Schott whipped cream by agitating it in a shaker with a spring (from a Hawthorne strainer) and poured it on top of the cocktail. He garnished it with toasted coconut and harissa spice powder.

Schott called the cocktail, which he dubbed the Kareemy Abdul Jabbartender, a "foofy, creamy, sweet drink"—which isn't his usual style. "You've got to deal with what you've got," he said. "Life gives you tahini . . . you make a drink out of it."

Kareemy Abdul Jabbartender - MELISSA KLAUDA
  • Melissa Klauda
  • Kareemy Abdul Jabbartender

Kareemy Abdul Jabbartender

1 1/4 oz Batavia arrack
1/4 oz Tempus Fugit creme de cacao
1/2 oz Don Julio aƱejo tequila
1/2 oz coconut milk
1 1/4 oz heavy cream, divided
1/2 oz chocolate syrup
1/2 oz tahini
Toasted coconut
Harissa spice powder

Fill a glass with ice and let chill. Meanwhile, add the Batavia arrack, creme de cacao, tequila, coconut milk, chocolate syrup, tahini, and a half ounce of heavy cream to a shaker with ice and shake well. Dump the ice out of the glass and strain the cocktail into it. Pour three quarters of an ounce of heavy cream into the shaker, add the spring from a Hawthorne strainer, and shake until the cream is slightly whipped, then add to the cocktail. Garnish with toasted coconut and harissa powder.

Who's next:

Schott has challenged Celina Dzyacky of Lula Cafe with hard-boiled eggs. Eggs are a common cocktail ingredient, Schott reasoned—but they're usually raw.


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