Kosher Wine & Spirits

 

Passover Cocktails

 

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If you haven’t noticed I have been really getting into cocktails lately, to the point that I am not ashamed to admit I have one practically every night.  You see the key to everything is moderation and if you stick to just 1 a night you can take the edge off and possibly decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke.  Plus I like my drinks with citrus, typically a whole lime or half a lemon goes into my drink and with it a little shot of vitamin C.  Now that I have rationalized my drinking for you I want to share an amazing infographic I found for Passover cocktails.

These cocktails were developed in honor of the four glasses of wine we drink during the Passover seder, Naomi Levy, assistant bar manager at Eastern Standard, created four original (and tasty!) cocktails inspired by different parts of the seder.  This fabulous guide shows you how to make regular simple syrup as well as special for Passover Manischewitz Concord Grape Syrup.  Now I know what to do with the bottle after I make charoset.  Just take note of the brands, they list which ones are kosher for Passover, amazing that we can get Gin, Tequila, and really good Vodka, but most of the brands listed in the actual recipes are not acceptable for Passover.


 

Four Israeli Wines for Your Passover Seder

 

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The number four comes up many times throughout the Passover Seder.  We read aloud the four questions, describe the four children and enjoy four glasses of wine.  The significance of the number four relates to the promises G-d made to Moses: “I will take you out of the forced labor in Egypt, and free you from their slavery; I will liberate you and I will take you to be My own nation.” (Exodus 6:6-8).

This year we are hosting family and friends for the first Seder and I wanted to highlight four wonderful Israeli wines we will be celebrating with this year.  L’chaim!


 

Scent of a Moscow Mule

 

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A couple of months ago a cocktail-loving friend of mine mentioned the Moscow Mule. The name didn’t sound the least bit appealing to me, but I have to admit I was intrigued when he explained how he was going to a bar that serves the drink the old-fashioned way — out of a copper mug. Just like when you discover a new word and then hear it everywhere, over the past few weeks I’ve been followed by the Moscow Mule – in signs, news articles and bar menus so I had to try it myself and share it with you.

The Moscow Mule is made from vodka, ginger beer and lime. It was created in the 1940′s to help sell more vodka in the U.S. It was served in the iconic copper mug as a marketing gimmick. People would see others get a cool looking different drink and ask for the same thing. Today, with the resurgence in popularity of this classic cocktail bars are discovering customers walking away with the copper mug as a souvenir, says the Wall Street Journal. People love the drink and want to recreate it at home with the right vessel, but there is a way to do this without committing a felony .


 

Kosher Wine For Purim

 

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This year we celebrate the holiday of Purim on Saturday March 15, 2015.  As many of you know, the Sunday meal is a festive seudah celebrated with a delicious meal, songs and lots of drinking.  There is a tradition to drink until you can no longer distinguish between Arur Haman and Baruch Mordechai.  While that may be too much for most, it’s nice to know there are some wonderful kosher wines to share at your special meal with close friends and family.

Here are some of the wines we will be celebrating with this Purim:


 

The Lava Lamp Cocktail Link Up

 

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If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a lava lamp is a visit to Spencer’s at your local mall or a blissed out night during college listening to psychedelic music, you’re probably not alone, but I’m here to tell you there’s a little more to the Lava Lamp than all that.

I was inspired by a friend’s recent story about a Lava Lamp cocktail and I was able to create a fun at home version that you can enjoy with or without alcohol, so it’s a perfect party drink whether you’re having some friends over or stuck at home with the kids.


 

The Truth About Vermouth

 

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Vermouth is a type of fortified wine that is made by adding spirits to wine and infusing with a proprietary blend of botanicals. It has been used as a flavor enhancer in many cocktails for years, including classic cocktails like the Martini and the Manhattan.

Vermouth was popular starting in the 1800s and comes in dry and sweet varieties. Over the past several years there has been a resurgence of interest in old fashioned cocktails, many of which include vermouth. A variety of new aperitif and fortified wines (of which vermouth is both) have been introduced to the U.S. market.


 

DIY – Homemade Bubbly Cocktails

 

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This time of year sparkling wine and champagne are in high demand.   We love to toast with champagne and we love to mix it up too.   Light and fruity wine cocktails are the perfect complement to any celebration. When you have some bubbles, a bit of spice, and some succulent fruit, you can’t go wrong.

How to choose good wines to use in cocktails?


 

The Heart of The Cocktail

 

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It isn’t just for ad execs on Madison Avenue, cocktails have always been a part of popular culture.  Until now, I had only ever tried the basics, Martini (not my thing, Bond can keep it), Gin and Tonic, Screwdrivers, Margaritas and Mojitos.  Once I started to really enjoy wine I didn’t even consider cocktails except on vacation to a tropical destination.  Over the years, friends and Shabbat guests would enjoy single malt scotch and bourbon, but straight liquor was never that appealing to me. Maybe I owe a debt of gratitude to Don Draper, but we are living during a renaissance of the cocktail culture and my rocks glass will never be the same.

My most recent concoction was a mint and lime Julep


 

7 Wines to Help You Celebrate The New Year

 

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We all know the Jewish holidays are never on time, they are either early or late.  This year they are early, very early and don’t even get me started about celebrating Hanukkah on Thanksgiving %@#$!

First, I have to get through cooking for Rosh Hashanah with three kids running around the house, bouncing off the walls and suffering from withdrawal from summer camp and my feeble attempts to limit digital time to a mere 3 hours a day… Did I hear a “good luck with that”?


 

The Village of Hope

 

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Just north of the Jezreel Valley, slightly east of Haifa is a small town called Kfar Tikva or Village of Hope. This town was started in 1964 with the idea of creating an environment where disabled people of all ages, type of disability, and level of personal capability would be able to develop and realize their potential, though various jobs and projects that also help to integrate them into typical everyday society. The community now numbering some 200 people is also the home of Tulip Winery.

Tulip Winery joined the community in 2003.  They developed a program where these very special individuals could participate in the harvest of grapes, the bottling process and assist on guided tours of the facilities.  The Yitzhaki Family, founders of the winery, had a vision to provide premium wines that offered the best value for your money.


 

Summer White Wines For a Picnic

 

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I Went on a Picnic and I Brought a Bottle of…

I had my first summer picnic the other day at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.  Caramoor is a former estate near Katonah, New York about 50 miles north of New York City.  Presently, it’s a venue for classical music performances and an art museum.  It is a beautiful area of Westchester, where you see about as many horses as people when driving down the winding roads between Bedford and Katonah.  In predictable New York summertime weather, our planned picnic day was hot and humid.  Not exactly the kind of weather that has you thinking about a glass of wine.  More like mojitos and margaritas.


 

The Story of the Golan Heights Winery

 

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In 1983 the world of kosher wine and the wine industry in Israel underwent a monumental change. That was the year Golan Heights Winery opened its’ doors in the ancient city of Katzrin.

From its’ initial days, the Winery and its’ staff led by chief wine maker, Victor Schoenfeld, have focused their mission to be Israel’s premium winery, creating wines that would rival the best of California, Italy and France.


 

Make Kosher Gin Cocktails A Part Of Your Summer

 

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Summertime is upon us! For many, the name of the game is BBQs and parties. With the revival of the cocktail culture a la the 1920s, American consumers are increasingly making cocktails a centerpiece of their soirees.

But what about those of us in the kosher world? Many of the classic cocktail ingredients have at best dubious kashrut or are downright non-kosher. However, this is changing; many companies are producing alternative ingredients that are good approximations of their classic counterparts, along with the requisite kashrut certification! I wanted to look at three classic cocktails surrounding gin (a year-round mainstay for me, but especially during the warmer months!), and provide kosher alternative ingredients.


 

Uncork The White Wine

 

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In the middle of summer, when the height of harvest season is still a couple months away, the green grapes used in white wines are collected from the vines. Unlike reds, which are fermented with their skins to achieve a deep, burgundy color, white wine grapes are quickly pressed and only the remaining juice undergoes fermentation, without any skins or seeds.

The fermentation process is quicker, and white wines aren’t aged in oak—they go quickly to market so you can enjoy them when they’re young and fresh. The result is a tart, crisp, and refreshing wine that can be enjoyed with light foods or on its own. Always check the year of your bottle of white—if it’s more than two or three years old, pass. Because a shorter fermentation process results in less labor, you can typically enjoy high quality white wines at a lower price point than their red counterparts.


 

Kosher Wine for Passover – Start The Night Off...

 

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I’d like to make a pre-Passover confession and get it out of the way right now.  Somewhere between the third and fourth cup of wine, I switch to grape juice.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love wine, but the stress of seder night, a roomful of guests, a sinkful of dishes and a hallway full of kids is not how I like to enjoy the fruit of the vine.  I also don’t like to drink wine leaning in any direction at all.

But I do take time to carefully select the right bottle to kick off the seder so I hope my first glass of kosher wine for Passover will be the best wine of the night.  It’s the wine we use to celebrate our Kiddush and a milestone to the hard work and blessings that brought our family together around the seder table yet again.