Home Food Keep cool this long weekend with these Jewish-themed cocktails

Keep cool this long weekend with these Jewish-themed cocktails

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Whether at the beach, on the patio, in the woods or at the end of a hard day’s work, there’s nary a time during summer that isn’t enhanced by a refreshing cocktail. As The CJN’s resident mixologist, I’ve created some Jewish-themed takes on classic cocktail recipes, to keep you far shickairt all summer long.

Sunrise Over the Negev

Yes, this is a tequila sunrise, but while most store-bought grenadine use artificial flavours, this calls for authentic grenadine made from pomegranate juice (see recipe below).

  • 4.5 cl (1½ oz) tequila
  • pulp-free orange juice, to taste
  • 3 cl (1 oz) authentic grenadine (recipe to follow)
  • maraschino cherry and orange slice, for garnish

Fill a collins glass with ice. Add tequila, top with orange juice and stir.

Slowly pour grenadine into the side of the glass. Stir gently to create a sunrise effect. Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Grenadine (Pomegranate Syrup)

Adapted from The Kitchn.

  • 250 ml (1 cup) 100 per cent pomegranate juice
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • lemon juice, to taste

Combine pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir to dissolve. Bring mixture to a boil and boil rapidly for approximately 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add lemon juice, if desired, a few drops at a time, to make the mixture more tart.

Jerusalem Sour

This is a variation on the New York sour, which is essentially a whisky sour with red wine floated on top. Instead of a Bordeaux, the Jerusalem sour uses an Israeli wine.

  • 4.5 cl (1½ oz) rye whisky
  • 2.5 cl (3/4 oz) lemon juice
  • 1.5 cl (1/2 oz) simple syrup
  • 1.5 cl (1/2 oz) dry red Israeli wine, preferably something comparable to a Bordeaux, such as Mount Hermon Red
  • half slice orange, for garnish

Combine whisky, lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill 3/4 full with ice. Cover and shake vigorously until chilled, approximately 15 seconds. Strain into martini or rocks glass.

Hold a bar spoon at a slight angle in the middle of the glass, just above the liquid. Slowly pour the wine into the spoon, so it spills over the edge and floats on the top of the drink. Garnish with orange slice.

Chocolate Sabra Martini

A chocolate lover’s dream, this Sabra-based cocktail will make you forget you’re drinking alcohol – until it’s too late.

  • 9 cl (3 oz) vodka
  • 3 cl (1 oz) Sabra liqueur
  • 0.5 cl (1 tsp) chocolate syrup
  • chocolate, for garnish (optional)

Combine vodka, Sabra and chocolate syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill 3/4 full with ice cubes. Cover and shake vigorously, approximately 15 seconds.

Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with chocolate, if desired.

After Eight in Tel Aviv

Chocolaty, minty and zesty, this tastes just like an After Eight mint chocolate and uses Israel’s famous Sabra Chocolate Orange Liqueur, homemade crème de menthe and vodka (while any will do, I used Askalon Vodka, which is distilled in Israel). The key to making this is to chill the Sabra, in order to bring out its chocolaty notes, while suppressing the orange flavour.

  • 1.5 cl (1/2 oz) vodka
  • 1.5 cl (1/2 oz) crème de menthe liqueur (recipe to follow)
  • 1.5 cl (1/2 oz) Sabra liqueur
  • peppermint patty, for garnish

Pour Sabra into a cocktail shaker or mixing glass and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.

Remove from freezer and add vodka and crème de menthe. Fill 3/4 full with ice, cover and shake vigorously, approximately 15 seconds.

Strain into rocks glass and garnish with peppermint patty. Serve neat or on the rocks.

Crème de Menthe Liqueur

Adapted from The 12 Bottle Bar.

  • 300 ml (1¼ cups) water
  • 300 ml (1¼ cups) granulated sugar
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) fresh mint leaves
  • 300 ml (1¼ cups) vodka

Heat water in a small saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

While still warm, add mint leaves and stir. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature.

Strain into a bowl or measuring cup using a fine-mesh strainer. Discard mint leaves and transfer liquid into an airtight container.

Add vodka, seal and shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Burning Bush

Shrub was a popular drink in the colonial United States. Add some mint and rum to the mix, and you have a perfect summer cocktail.

  • 8 large mint leaves
  • 9 cl (3 oz) 100 per cent pomegranate juice
  • 6 cl (2 oz) amber rum
  • 1.5 cl (1/2 oz) lemon juice
  • 4.5 cl (1½ oz) pomegranate shrub syrup (recipe to follow)
  • 1.5 cl (1/2 oz) simple syrup
  • club soda, to taste
  • pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Place mint leaves in an old fashioned glass and gently muddle to release the oils, without breaking up the leaves.

Add pomegranate juice, rum, lemon juice, pomegranate shrub and simple syrup. Stir gently to combine.

Add 2 ice cubes and top with club soda. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Pomegranate Rum Shrub

Shrub is a very versatile and refreshing drink made of fruit syrup, water and vinegar. This cocktail combines a sweet and tangy pomegranate shrub with rum and soda water.

  • 6 cl (2 oz) amber rum
  • 3 cl (1 oz) pomegranate shrub syrup (recipe to follow)
  • club soda, to taste

Fill a collins glass 3/4 full of ice. Add rum and pomegranate shrub. Top with club soda and stir to combine.

Pomegranate Shrub Syrup

Adapted from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles.

  • 500 ml (2 cups) 100 per cent pomegranate juice
  • 250 ml (1 cup) apple cider vinegar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) granulated sugar

Combine all ingredients in an airtight container. Seal and shake vigorously. Let sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before using.

Bloody Pogrom

The Canada Food Guide recommends eating upwards of 10 servings of vegetables per day. But why force yourself to eat salads when you can drink your veggies? This take on the Bloody Mary, and its treif Canadian cousin the Caesar, incorporates kosher pickles, maror (horseradish), olives and Middle Eastern spices. For an even more Jewish experience, try it with an Israeli vodka, such as Askalon Vodka.

  • 4.5 cl (1½ oz) vodka
  • 1.5 cl (1/2 oz) lemon juice
  • 1.5 cl (1/2 oz) kosher pickle brine
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cl (2 tsp) maror (horseradish)
  • pinch pepper
  • pinch celery salt
  • pinch sumac
  • tomato juice, to taste
  • baby kosher pickle, for garnish
  • olive, for garnish

Fill a collins glass part way full of ice. Add vodka, lemon juice, pickle brine, Worcestershire Sauce, maror, pepper, celery salt and sumac.

Top with tomato juice and slowly stir to combine. Garnish with pickle and olive.

Milchig Brandy Punch

Perfect with a dairy brunch, after dinner or anytime really, this delicious cocktail will keep you coming back for more. Adapted from The 12 Bottle Bar.

  • 4.5 cl (1½ oz) Israeli brandy, such as Askalon Traditional Brandy
  • 3 cl (1 oz) simple syrup
  • 6 cl (2 oz) half and half cream
  • dash pure vanilla extract
  • ground nutmeg, for garnish

Combine brandy, simple syrup, half and half and vanilla in a cocktail shaker. Fill 3/4 full with ice. Cover and shake vigorously, 15 seconds.

Place 4 or 5 ice cubes in an old fashioned glass and strain drink into glass. Garnish with ground nutmeg.

Jason Alexander

Smooth, silky and decadent, this take on the classic cocktail known as the Alexander uses Israel’s Sabra liqueur and was named after the Seinfeld actor.

  • 3 cl (1 oz) Cognac-style brandy
  • 3 cl (1 oz) Sabra liqueur
  • 3 cl (1 oz) light cream
  • ground nutmeg, for garnish

Combine brandy, Sabra and cream in a cocktail shaker. Fill 3/4 full with ice and shake vigorously, approximately 15 seconds.

Strain into a martini glass and sprinkle ground nutmeg over top.

The Far Shickairt Grape

If there’s one thing practically every Jewish holiday gathering has, at least where kids are involved, it’s concord grape juice. But why let that bottle of Kedem sit in the back of the fridge for the rest of the year, when you can turn it into a delicious treat for the adults? For an extra-boozy experience, try replacing the grape juice with Manischewitz wine. Adapted from Rachael Ray Every Day.

  • 9 large mint leaves
  • 9 cl (3 oz) bourbon
  • 6 cl (2 oz) concord grape juice, such as Kedem
  • 3 cl (1 oz) lemon juice
  • 2 cl (4 tsp) maple syrup
  • lemon twist, for garnish

Gently muddle eight mint leaves in a mixing glass or cocktail shaker, to release the oil without breaking them up. Add bourbon, concord grape juice, lemon juice and maple syrup. Fill 3/4 full of ice, cover and shake vigorously, approximately 15 seconds.

Strain into martini glass and garnish with remaining mint leaf and lemon twist.

Zayda’s Gin and Tonic

No list of cocktails would be complete without my Zayda’s gin and tonic recipe. The secret to it is bitters – lots of bitters. The resulting mixture should be a reddish, pinkish, orangey colour and flavourful.

  • 4.5 cl (1½ oz) gin
  • tonic water, to taste
  • Angostura bitters, to taste
  • Lime wedge, for garnish (optional)

Fill a collins glass with ice. Add gin and top with tonic water. Add at least 3-4 dashes of bitters, until mixture has a pink hue and the flavour comes through. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with a lime wedge, if desired.

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