During the High Holidays, many Jewish families are making sure they’re stocked up on sweet red wine, a traditional way of symbolically asking for a “sweet” new year.
But symbolism within Jewish practice has expanded — such as with the use of an orange on the Seder plate — to accommodate an ever diversifying people. We all want sweetness — lives that are sweet like apples and honey — but is it alright to ask for more?
Here are four fun cocktails that touch upon other aspirations — passion, prosperity, understanding and hope — to help you symbolically request a custom-fitted, stellar 5778.
We could all use a little more passion and spice in our lives. Whether or not one has a romantic relationship to maintain, many can identify with the feeling that life sometimes lacks the invigorating zest that drives us out of bed in the morning. If you’re looking for adventure, a break from monotony, or the rekindling of a dimmed flame, set an intention with the Spice Baby cocktail below.
This simple cocktail features the flavors of hot ginger and seductive passionfruit. Easy to dress up for a special occasion, this drink is also delicious with the alcohol omitted.
1 ounce white rum
½ cup of ice cubes
6 ounces ginger beer, chilled
1) Start with a 12 ounce glass. If you plan to rim the glass, dip it in water and then into a plate holding honey crystals and, if you like it extra hot, a dash of cayenne. Gently move the glass around until the rim is well-coated.
2) Cut the passionfruit in half over a small bowl. Scoop the seeds and pulp into the bowl. Mash some of the seeds to release juice. Add the rum and stir. (If you want a mellower drink, allow the passionfruit and rum to sit covered in the fridge for a day or two before enjoying.)
3) Gently pour the passionfruit mixture into the bottom of our glass. Layer ice cubes over the top. Slowly pour ginger beer over the ice. Cut a slice of ginger or a piece of candied ginger to sit on the rim. Enjoy.
Note: passionfruit seeds are edible and provide an enjoyable crunch for most people. If you’d prefer your drink without the dark seeds, mash the fruit through a colander into the bowl, or replace the fruit with two or three ounces of packaged passionfruit juice.
It seems like at least once a week, there’s a trending opinion piece about the exorbitant financial costs of life as a Jew. Between kosher food and day school tuition, many families feel entirely drained and unable to keep up. Austerity is still a reality for many, pricy bar mitzvah parties on the horizon, or not. If you’re hoping for prosperity and the feeling of abundance in this new year, whip up a batch of this First Fruits Punch.
First Fruits Punch
Pomegranate is a natural symbol of abundance, with its plentiful ruby seeds. Grapes are also an ancient image of plenty. Oranges, up until very recent history, were an extreme luxury in much of the world and were often given individually as precious gifts.
1 cup of pomegranate juice
½ cup of orange juice
2 ounces of vodka
1 750 ml bottle of pomegranate wine
1½ cups of seltzer
Pomegranate arils (seeds)
1) Cut up any optional fruit you wish to include in the punch. Many people enjoy freezing the fruit beforehand to keep the beverage cool.
2) Start with the pitcher or bowl you’ll be serving from. Put the orange juice and pomegranate juice into the vessel. Add vodka and stir. Gently lower the fruit in.
3) Add the pomegranate wine. Top up with seltzer. Serve chilled.
Notes: for a richer taste, try using a flavored seltzer, a more exotic orange juice (we used blood orange juice), a flavored vodka, or try swapping the vodka out with orange or pomegranate liqueur.
The Jewish life is, for many, one of conflict. On the one hand, the holiday season focuses largely on divine will. On the other, we are tasked as a people with actively working to improve the world for others and ourselves. It can be difficult to acknowledge and accept our place in this partnership. Pour yourself a glass of “Enlightenmint” as a reminder that things aren’t always what they seem — but that doesn’t mean they’re anything less than peachy.
This drink gets it flavors from sources seen (mint) and unseen (clear peach liqueur). This recipe is for two cocktails, but the drink looks lovely multiplied in a pitcher.
8 fresh mint leaves
Ice to fill two glasses
2 ounce peach liqueur
1 teaspoon peppermint liqueur
1 ounce tequila
1) Select and wash eight healthy mint leaves. Place them between two sheets of parchment paper or in a plastic baggie, and press against them with the bottom of a glass until they are lightly bruised.
2) Fill two large (12-ounce or greater) glasses with ice, layering four mint leaves into each.
3) In a cocktail shaker, cup or small bowl, mix the peach liqueur, peppermint liqueur and tequila. Divide the mixture evenly between the two glasses. Top up with plain or peach seltzer.
Sometimes all we need is hope. Sometimes we have to ask why to bother asking for sweetness, or passion, or wealth, or understanding. Sometimes we just need a reminder that the sun always rises, and that even in the dark there are glimmers of light. Don’t give up on your goals — the Chocolate Lift is likely to give you the boost you need.
With a flavor vaguely reminiscent of tiramisu, this chocolate cocktail is either one of your wildest dreams or will at least encourage you to strive towards them. A fun dessert for grown-ups.
1 pint of dark chocolate sorbet
2 ounces brandy, cognac or dark rum
2 ounces coffee liqueur
Milk or milk substitute of choice
1) Place sorbet and alcohol in a blender. Blend until a pourable consistency.
2) Add milk or milk substitute as needed.
3) Serve in chilled cocktail glasses, optionally rimmed with gold sprinkles and decorated with slices of star fruit.
Note: if you want to make this drink on the holiday, but don’t use electric appliances, these can easily be mixed up by hand if the sorbet is allowed to sit out of the freeze for about a half hour.
Alternatively, they can be made in advance and stored in the freezer, covered, for up to three days. Ask your Rav before making these on Shabbat if you have any concerns about losh.
No’a L. bat Miri is a writer and former bartender with an extensive background in mixology. You can follow her kosher alcohol adventures on Instagram @wineyjewgirl.