Let My People Go - a Cocktail for Passover
Sure, there are five cups of wine that are consumed as part of a traditional seder, but sometimes you still need a real drink on Passover.
Last year I provided an explanation of what makes a spirit kosher for Passover, as well as some cocktail recipes (if you haven’t tried a Red Sea Sour, you haven’t reached the Promised Land, my friends!)
Passover, during which observant Jews entirely give up leavened bread and most grains (known as chametz), lasts eight whole days. While there is plenty left to eat, it is still a sacrifice in many respects. No real bagels. No real pizza. No real pasta, rice or cereal.
Even worse - no whiskey!
By day three bet you’re craving something stirred and boozy. Well, there are ways around ways to make that happen.
Why sacrifice absolutely everything? This is a celebration of life, after all. We made it out of Egyptian bondage (certain clubs in the West Village notwithstanding). We lived to tell our children and their children about the prophets and the plagues and “ye mountains that skip like rams and hills like young lambs.” (Where, apparently, they also encountered some sort of mushroom. Hey, we were all thinking it.)
This is a celebration of freedom.
So, I’m giving it to you in liquid form. Dayenu.
Let My People Go
For this cocktail recipe, if you’re observing full midrash, you will want to use only spirits that are rabbinically certified kosher for Passover, which I am designating with a Ⓚ. Otherwise, the spirits listed are only technically kosher in that they meet the right guidelines (no grains), but haven’t been made official. For you, I give nice options!
Except bitters. Sadly, one can’t use bitters or most commercial extracts on Passover because of the grain alcohol likely needed for the tincture. Therefore, you have to create the bitter element yourself with herbs! And what better holiday to use bitter herbs (maror) than this one?
(The youngest among you technically is supposed to answer that.)
- 60 ml/2 oz Balcones Rumble or Louis Royer Cognac VS Ⓚ (note that the Cognac version will be somewhat drier)
- 23 ml/.75 oz Fig-infused Arak or Fig Brandy (such as Boukha or Zachlawi, Ⓚ) or Nahmias et Fils Mahia fig spirit, silver medal in the 2012 NY International Spirits Competition
- ½ tsp Cherry, Raspberry, Grape or Strawberry jam, preferably seedless
- 5 fresh mint leaves + one for garnish
Rub mint leaves all around the inside of a mixing tin to release the oils and coat with their essence. Really get them in there and don’t be afraid to leave some small pieces of the leaves inside. After all, much was certainly left behind during the Exodus! Add spirits and jam and stir with ice until well chilled. Give it a quick roll between two tins to mix things up without over-bruising the spirits. Strain into pre-chilled coupe or small wine glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.