I'm always curious about seasonal traditions that aren't my own, especially for holidays I didn't grow up celebrating. While picking a college friend's brain about Hanukkah food and drink recipes, I randomly inquired about the possibility of a Hanukkah cocktail.
"Well," she said, "I can't really think of any traditional cocktails. I mean, you could mix Manischewitz with Coke or something. But that would probably be gross."
I agreed. (No offense to Manischewitz -- I love your wide egg noodles!)
Turns out, however, others have given more thought about what to drink with latkes and sufganiyot.
After sifting through more than a dozen so-called Hanukkah cocktail recipes, I found one whose ingredients actually had some connection to the holiday and sound like they'd be quite good in liquid combination.
Credit for this recipe is usually given to San Francisco's Nopa Bar, where, I like to imagine, some creative (and probably Jewish) bartender was fed up mixing silly peppermintinis and yuletide cosmos for sloppy goyim and decided to take a stab at his own holiday drink.
- 2 oz Slivovitz plum brandy
- 2 oz apple juice
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz Heering cherry-flavored liqueur
- 1/2 oz egg white
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
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Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake very hard for at least 30 seconds. Serve in chilled martini glass.
"Sweet with an earthy edge" would be my five-word description of this cocktail, whose intense stone fruit notes make me think of leafy orchards and crisp evenings. I also like the froth of the egg white and the slight citrus twang. I bet The Dreidel would, appropriately, look even more appealing by candlelight.