Hanukkah Cocktail Recipe — The Liquid Latke

There are two versions of this holiday-themed, milk-based cocktail. The first is faster, and the milk stays white. The second takes time, because the milk is put through a “clarification” process that turns it completely clear. Combine this mini miracle with ingredients that bring latkes to mind and you have the perfect Hanukkah-party potable.

Version 1 — For a milky-white punch

Serves 2

2 ounces Woody Creek Vodka (or any potato Vodka such as Tito’s)
½ ounce Neversink Apple Brandy (or another clear apple brandy)
¾ ounce simple syrup (1:1 ratio of water to sugar, heated until sugar dissolves then cooled)
3 ounces whole milk

1) Add all ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.

2) Strain into a “rocks” glass over fresh ice cubes.

3) Garnish with a few thin slices of apple and a light dusting of cinnamon

Version 2 — For a clear punch

The filtration process can take a couple of hours or a couple of days. Don’t be discouraged. Leave the filtering curds in the fridge and let the liquid drip down at its own rate. Your patience will be rewarded: The resulting clear punch can be safely kept in a cool place for months.

Makes about 40 ounces (5 cups)

12 ounces Woody Creek Vodka (or any other potato vodka)
3 ounces Neversink Apple Brandy (or any clear apple brandy)
4½ ounces simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
2½ ounces lemon juice
18 ounces (1 pint plus 2 ounces) whole milk
8 ounces water

Curdle the milk:

1) Heat the milk to 140º F in a saucepan.

2) In a separate container, combine the vodka, brandy, simple syrup and lemon juice.

3) Once the milk is brought to 140˚ F, turn off the heat, then pour the liquor-juice-sugar mixture into the milk. Stir gently. Allow to sit and cool for an hour.

Clarify the mixture:

1) For filtration, use 4–5 layers of cheesecloth and a fine strainer such as a chinois, or a coffee filter. For this stage of preparation, in addition to your filtration method you will require two non-reactive (glass or stainless steel) vessels large enough to fit at least one liter of liquid.

2) Suspend filter over the first container. Stir curd mixture gently, then pour slowly but evenly into filter. There should be an even coating of curds around the filter. Monitor the flow of liquid through the bottom of the filter. When the stream starts to appear clear, reposition the filter over the second container, so that it will be filled only with clear liquid.

3) Pour the remaining curd mixture into filter as room allows. Once your entire curd mixture is in the filter, you can add the liquid from the first container (the still-cloudy liquid) to the filter.

4) Repeat the process as needed, passing the mixture over the curds in your filter, until the liquid runs clear and bright. Add water.

To serve:

Pour clear liquid over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with apple slices or serve with a citrus peel. Or, for a refreshing variation, serve in a highball glass with a little soda water.

Chaim Dauermann is bar manager of The Up & Up, a cocktail bar in New York’s Greenwich Village. Follow him on Twitter, @ChaimDauermann

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