Kosher Wine & Spirits

 

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.


 

The Best Kosher Wine Picks For Every Price

 

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You know they’re in there. Amongst the row of bottles that you can only see but not taste, in every price category there are the best of the bunch—the corked favorite you’re waiting to discover. This is the unadulterated, objective list of the best wine picks for every budget. I’ve tasted all of these wines and I’m only recommending the picks I’d drink myself.

Under $10


 

How and Why To Reduce Wine

 

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When cooking with wine, don’t use that bottle of cooking wine you’ve grabbed from the supermarket shelf. Use a wine you would drink, not the most expensive wines, but an enjoyable cheaper one.  And don’t worry about serving wine-infused desserts to non-drinking guests. The alcohol content disappears when wine is cooked, leaving only the concentrated flavor.

To use wine as a sauce, make a wine reduction, turning a glass into a delicious, thick syrup. Use a frying pan instead of a saucepan when reducing wine—it will go quicker if there is more surface area. And be patient!


 

Drinks and Desserts with Liquor

 

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Red and white wine, and even vodka and beer, make it to the ingredient list often when we’re cooking. But now we’re serving wine and liqueurs as the last course for Purim desserts that are in the spirit.

Purim Cocktails for Non-Drinkers

These cocktails can double as dessert


 

Days of Kosher (Sparkling) Wine

 

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Should old acquaintances be forgot and never brought to mind?  Not if that old acquaintance is kosher champagne.  This time of year we have many opportunities to raise a glass and celebrate, whether at the office holiday party or ushering in the New Year or avoiding the fiscal cliff.  While a rich red may keep you warm by the fire at night, an errant drop can ruin a party dress faster than you can say stain stick.  So stick to Champagne or sparkling wine, it’s affordable, light, festive and remarkably drinkable most anytime.  Here are a few of our seasonal favorites:

Drappier Carte Blanche Brut (France); $45.  Fine, fresh, elegant and fruity with apple, yeast and floral notes – a true French Champagne from a prestigious domaine.


 

Kosher Wines for Hanukkah

 

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During Hanukkah, the wine you experience most often around my house is the “whine” from my kids asking when we will be exchanging presents each night.  Is it any wonder why I might want to try a different wine during the Festival of Lights?  Luckily, there are a number of excellent wines that can hold their own with latkes or any of the delicious dairy treats you may be serving this week.

Here are a few suggestions that will help light up your night – red and white…


 

Another Kosher Wine Grows in Napa

 

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Wearing a soiled baseball cap, dark-rimmed glasses and a long black beard, 34-year old Rabbi Elchonon Tenenbaum might appear to be a most unlikely winemaker.  And Napa Valley might be an unlikely place for an Orthodox Rabbi, his wife and their five young children to call home.  There are no kosher restaurants, no Jewish days schools and you have to schlep to San Francisco to get your kosher groceries.


 

Winecation

 

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This winter, enjoy wine country and the wonder of California’s coastline—kosher style