Enter The Dragon

"Become like water my friend."

One of my favorite things about being a Mixologist is the endless possibilities. Ideating and creating is a wonderful thing, and when you are working with a base component that is so versatile, like whiskey, the possibilities of what you can imagine and create are endless.

I am by no means a trained chemist, or even as advanced as a molecular Mixologist, but I do like to play around with flavors.

Last fall I was preparing to host the Founder & CEO of Uncle Nearest, my boss, Fawn Weaver, here in Eastern Washington for an event. For this I wanted to create a cocktail that would be unique, fairly simple to compose and would pair well with the Asian inspired menu at the location of the event.

This is an easy cocktail to compose; there is a little bit of prep, but once you create two of the homemade components you are good to go for many cocktails, and this is sure to be a fall favorite. Lots of complex flavors that are so refreshing and pair well with many foods.

I give you, Enter The Dragon

The first thing you will want to do is make the sesame tincture and the rice milk/orange blossom syrup.

Basic Sesame Tincture;

Take ½ cup of sesame seeds and toast them in a pan until they begin to turn brown (about 10 minutes). Make sure you are using medium heat making sure to move them around often and don’t let them burn.

Add ⅔ cup of vodka or white whiskey and allow the liquid to bubble for a minute or two.

Then add ½ cup of water to the pan and allow to simmer low for about 10 minutes.

Strain the water into a pot, leaving out the sesame seeds.

Add 1 cup of sugar and simmer until all sugar is dissolved.

Allow to cool and store in a glass jar in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.


½ cup of rice milk on medium heat in a pan.

Add 3 orange blossom tea bags or 1 handful of loose tea.

Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until you see the color of the milk change and can smell the aroma of the tea.

Remove the tea bags or strain the tea leaves out, return the liquid to the pan.

Add 1 cup of demerara sugar, allow to simmer until all sugar is dissolved.

Allow the mixture to cool and store in a glass jar in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Now you have your homemade components, let’s build the cocktail!


2 oz Uncle Nearest 1856

2 drops of sesame tincture (or one teaspoon)

1 teaspoon of syrup

2 dashes of an aromatic bitters

Ginger beer to fill.

Combine all ingredients, except the ginger beer, in a cocktail shaker adding a handful of ice. Shake well and strain into a Collins glass over ice, add the ginger beer and stir gently.

Garnish with an orange twist.

The earthy sesame flavor along with the creamy rice milk, the delicate orange blossom along with the brown sugar and caramel in the whiskey topped off with the spice of the ginger beer just comes together for a beautiful foot sweep! (Forgive the Karate puns; couldn’t help myself.)

I was a big fan of kung fu movies as a kid and Bruce Lee was the king! One of my all time favorites of his was the movie Enter The Dragon.

I felt that his style looked so simple and effortless at times, but of course his moves were very complex. Bruce Lee was not only a martial arts master, he was also a philosopher and founded his own hybrid style of martial arts called Jeet Kune Do. So that was my inspiration for this cocktail, the style of Bruce Lee and the philosophy behind it.

I will leave you with a favorite quote from the man himself;

You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

― Bruce Lee