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Shots of Bitterness: Maror Infused Vodka

For any Jew who observes all eight days of Passover, the food and beverage situation gets to a point where we all throw our hands up and inevitably say, “Dayeinu!” How much more Manischewitz and matzo can one person endure? Personally, as a bartender (or some might say “Mixologist”), those eight days are a long, treacherous time that inhibits the skills of my craft; so long bourbon and beer.

The challenge of working in bars and restaurants during the holiday has been proven to be difficult until recent years. With new kosher for Passover products on the market and a few tricks from the trade, I’ve been able to transfer my knowledge from the hospitality industry to my own Passover Seder table.

Passover is a holiday enriched by its traditions and symbolism. But, in my family, we like to change things up a bit and approach some of these customs with a new twist. With new liquor options becoming available for Passover, giving Slivovitz a run for its money, I’ve become inspired to show my friends a family a few tricks to incorporate some of these libations alongside those four cups of wine.

Without a doubt, one of the low points for many Seder participants is the eating of the bitter herbs (Maror), with that hot, sinus-clearing sensation leaving much to be desired. It’s about time to switch and update this practice for the modern day Passover goers. Get your family and friends excited for this part of the evening by serving a horseradish infused vodka. The infusion process takes on the heat of the Maror and by taking a shot or a sip of vodka, the extremity of the flavor ceases to linger and leaves a clean finish on the palate. The process to make a batch of this beverage is easy, sure to be a crowd pleaser and is a welcomed “Exodus” from the standard Maror procedure.

Horseradish infused Vodka

One 12 oz jar will yield roughly 8 oz of vodka, enough for 8-10 people. Be sure to make enough for the number of expected Seder participants.

1 Mason Jar (12 oz works best)
1 large piece of fresh Horseradish
1 bottle of Kosher for Passover Vodka (like Moses, Distillery 209)

1) Peel horseradish and cut it into long pieces (about 1.5 – 2 inches long).

2) Add 6-8 pieces of horseradish to the mason jar and fill the remainder of the jar with Vodka

3) Place the lid on top of the mason jar

4) Allow is to sit for anywhere from 3 days to a month. Be sure to shake up the contents about once a day. Best results show after a week of infusing. The longer the vodka infuses, the spicier and hotter it will become. Test a sample after 3-4 days to determine your preference of the flavor’s strength level

5) After allotted time, open jar and strain contents over a strainer or cheesecloth to remove impurities

6) Place vodka in a container and store in the freezer

7) Serve at the Seder!

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