As a Jewish child growing up in a considerably observant Ashkenazi household, Passover was one of my least favorite holidays. The cleaning of the house, the hiding of the bread, the replacement of said hidden bread with matzah. It was a painful process for my pre-teen soul. I just wanted to eat pizza and cookies and not have an eight day diet of Passover-friendly foods that all tasted like cardboard to me. Back then, the eight days of Passover felt like an eternity. A bread, rice and taste-free eternity.
As I grew up, moved out, and started to examine my religion a little more seriously, I realized that Passover was one of my favorite holidays of the year. Sure, the food wasn’t ideal, but it was a cleansing experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to learn exactly what I could and could not enjoy during this eight day exercise in self-control, eventually including what I could and could not drink.
Matzah image via Shutterstock
The good news? It’s not very difficult to build yourself a cocktail that is chametz-free! In fact, there are brands that produce spirits for just such an occasion, where bread and yeast are a no-no, resulting in a cocktail that is not only Kosher for Passover, but damn delicious as well. Distillery No. 209 produces a KFP gin that is available at most liquor stores, or can be ordered online here, and L’chaim Kosher Vodka is KFP as well, and can be found here.
Whether we choose to accept it or not, Passover is eight days to get creative with the cards we are dealt, so ditch the chametz-laden cocktails you’re used to, and try something new with these 5 Passover-friendly cocktails to get you through the week.
Not a keeper of the tradition? That’s okay, you can enjoy these cocktails, too, and give a high-five to all your Jewish friends who are fighting the good fight, and eating matzah pizza all week. Cheers!
Have any Passover cocktail recipes to share? Let us know about them in the comments section.
Adapted from Jordan Mackay
The Seder Sour
1 ½ oz No. 209 Gin
½ oz warmed honey
Dash of Kosher for Passover horseradish
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Tiny pinch kosher salt
In a cocktail shaker, combine all of the ingredients. Shake or stir the ingredients without ice, ensuring the honey dissolves completely. Add crushed ice, cover and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass, top with soda water, and garnish with a sprig of parsley.
Adapted from The Shiksa in the Kitchen
The Bitter Herb
1 oz No. 209 Gin
½ oz Fernet Branca**
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the gin and Fernet Branca. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass or Champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a twist of orange.
**Unlike the No. 209, Fernet Branca doesn’t have the kosher hechsher, making it officially Kosher for Passover. But according to the creator of this recipe, this liqueur is grape-based, not grain-based, so it is safe for those of you who are okay with not exactly breaking the rules, but bending them, just a little.**
Adapted from BettyConfidential
2 oz Bulldog Gin
4 oz Fresh Lemonade
Lemon wedge, as garnish
In a cocktail glass filled with ice, combine the gin and lemonade. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Adapted from BettyConfidential
1 ½ oz Crystal Head Vodka
In a tall glass filled with ice, combine the vodka and cranberry juice. Top with a splash of Grenadine, unstirred, and garnish with a slice of blood orange.
Manischewitz SangriaAdapted from WhatJewWannaEat
1 bottle Manischewitz
1 can lemon-lime soda
1 cup KFP Vodka or Rum (Ketel One Vodka and Bacardi White or Gold Rum are acceptable for this)
Fruit of your choice (apples, oranges, peaches, nectarines, grapes, plums, cherries, etc.)
Chop all the fruit into bite size pieces. Pour into a large pitcher, and cover with the Manischewitz, soda and vodka or rum. Stir well, and let marinate for up to 24 hours before serving.