Kojo Says Open Sesame

Good Bite

Kojo, www.eatkojo.com, 1289 Palm Avenue, Sarasota, 941-536-9717

For Kojo bar manager, David Roth, spirits represent a legitimate subject for academic inquiry. He knows the history and manufacturing process of just about every fermented liquid that’s ever been made along with the standard and cutting-edge concoctions in which they are used—ask him one question and he responds with a dissertation. So, when Roth has a crazy idea like, say, putting sesame oil in a cocktail, that wild experiment comes backed by his encyclopedic knowledge.

Kojo’s Black and Gold is described on the menu as a “bourbon sour with honey and sesame,” but the simple wording hardly captures the depth of the drink’s complexity. Like any good sour, lemon also makes an appearance, though humbly so to make room for the Frangelico. The latter’s hazelnut notes and touch of syrupy sweetness help accentuate and balance the unexpected umami of the sesame oil drops placed on the dried lemon slice, which give the drink a distinct bouquet. A few drops are also placed in the shaker to help diffuse the flavor into the glass, resulting in a drink that evokes any number of adjectives—refreshing, complex, nutty, savory, smooth.

Happy hour hoppers beware: the bite of the bourbon is there, to be sure, but surrounded by such a talented supporting cast as to be easily forgotten.

Kojo, www.eatkojo.com, 1289 Palm Avenue, Sarasota, 941-536-9717

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