Kosher Wine & Spirits

 

Arak – An Ancient Drink With A Modern Interest

 

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A few weeks ago, I discovered Zachlawi Fig Arak on Facebook.  I thought it sounded interesting and wondered what Arak was.  The next day I saw it in a friend’s house. Isn’t it weird how you discover something new and then you see it everywhere?  I sampled this sweet, strong fig Arak.  It was absolutely delicious and I had to learn more.

Arak is a Middle Eastern aniseed flavored liqueur with a long history.   It is made by fermenting grapes, dates, sugar, plums or figs with water, aniseed and sometimes more sugar.  It is usually served ice cold: 1/3 Arak to 2/3 water and ice.  As water is added, the Arak becomes milky in color which is why it is sometimes referred to as “Milk of Lions”.  It can also be mixed with fruit juice or tea.  Since fig Arak is a little sweeter than clear Arak, it can be enjoyed straight up.  It is best served alongside Mezze — middle eastern appetizers like Stuffed Grape Leaves or Hummus and Pita.


 

Spirit Recommendations to Lift Your Spirits This...

 

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Ah, Purim. As we return to the Heroics of Esther and Mordechai, I remember the bumblings of King Ahashverosh that much more. At the very least, he lightens the atmosphere of the story. It’s in this light-hearted theme that I like to imbibe on Purim. Don’t get me wrong, given the weather this time of year, I generally prefer heavier, smokier, more brooding spirits, but for Purim, it’s hard to say “Blessed be Haman” over a big, brooding dram. Instead, I tend to enjoy lighter, more “fun” beverages.

For vodka, my choice this month is Bootlegger, made in Gardner, NY.


 

Kosher Wine for Hanukkah

 

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The sun is setting and the Hanukkah lights are aglow.  The kids are quietly and patiently waiting to open their presents.   You have already cleaned up the dishes from dinner, wiped the splattered olive oil off the stovetop and are ready to sit back and relax.  Who am I kidding?  Hanukkah was never so simple!  Peeling, squeezing, slicing, dicing, frying, serving, cleaning.  Repeat.  Sound familiar?

It all looks so effortless on the plate.  The applesauce and sour cream have it easy.


 

Kosher Wine for Thanksgiving

 

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When you think of the great wine growing regions of the world, your imagination might first turn to the rich soil of Bordeaux or the rolling hills of Tuscany.  I look west to California.  America is blessed with sun kissed vines spread across the Golden State, producing outstanding wines that hold their own against Old World wines that trace their roots before the Pilgrims ever landed on Plymouth Rock.

California wine geeks love to tell the story about that day in Paris in 1976 when a red and white from Napa beat some of the most legendary Bordeaux and Burgundy wines from France in a blind taste testing that left the eight French judges speechless (quite possibly a first for the usually loquacious French).


 

New Kosher Wine for The Jewish New Year

 

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I’ve spent the last three weeks tasting some of the best new kosher wine for the New Year and my cork-pulling hand is getting tired.  I am not expecting much in the way of sympathy.  But a little help washing the glassware would be nice.

When summertime is over and the first winds of fall begin to blow, I run away from rosé and let go of pinot grigio to get ready for some wine suitable for the soulful introspection that accompanies Rosh Hashanah. Plus I pick a few bottles just for fun, something to enjoy while the bees are chasing my kids around the sukkah or when hosting a late night Simchat Torah celebration.


 

A Kosher Wine for Every Personality

 

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She was a real beauty.  Sparkling like gold.  Bubbly and vivacious, her charm and refinement were refreshing and unexpected.  Over the course of dinner, she seemed to really open up and I discovered things I had never expected to find.  That night I fell in love with French Champagne.

Every wine has a personality.  And there is a personality for every wine. I wanted to share my completely unscientific wine personality pairings to help you play matchmaker next time you are having a dinner party or guests over for Shabbat.


 

All About Wine

 

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Everything you ever wanted to know about wine, but were afraid to ask. (more…)


 

Kosher Wine from Israel for Passover

 

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This year, I propose a slight variation on the now familiar refrain that closes each Passover Seder. Before you pour one of the four cups of wine at your Seder meal, stand up and proudly declare: “Next wine from Jerusalem!” I guarantee your guests will not be disappointed.

Two thousand years before grapevines were planted in the venerable wine regions of France and Italy, wine was being produced in the land of Israel. Visiting one of the 250 wineries scattered throughout the country is a lesson in tradition meeting technology. Winemaking in Israel is both art and science, with plenty of help from nature. Boasting dry, hot summers, a short wet winter, occasional frost and cold Negev nights, Israel has the potential to become one of the premier wine growing destinations in the world.


 

Candy and Wine Pairings

 

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So, let’s have a little fun quiz with Jay – which wine would you pair with….

Chocolate wafers?
Jeunesse.


 

Perfect Purim Wines

 

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Q. What wines do you recommend for Purim and why?
A. Light semi-dries for the day and try to stick with low alcohols like Bartenura Moscato, W wines, Carmel Moscato and the new Gamla Moscato. This is what you serve those that come in out to drop off shlach manot etc …..but of course NEVER GIVE ANY WINE TO ANYONE WHO IS DRIVING OR UNDER 21 YEARS OLD!!! For the seudah, three drier but lighter wines-  Pinot Noir from Barkan, Baron Herzog Chardonnay or Ramon Cordova Rioja (Spain). There are also new very delicious reserves from Israel – Binyamina or Gamla Wineries.

Q. Do you have a drinking game plan you can suggest/map out for folks who want to fulfill the mitzvah but don’t want to feel sick?
A. Stay away from overly sweet wines – the sugar alone will get you sick. If you intend to drink a lot stretch it out over the entire day, not all at once. Bear in mind “alcohol is alcohol, mixing is what’s bad” is a myth. Total consumption is what counts. One shot of whiskey is equivalent to one glass of wine is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer or light wine ie Bartenura.


 

Walders Vanilla Vodka

 

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Q: Tell me about Vodka and Vanilla by Walders.
A: A pareve, creamy, truly luscious drink that’s got a nice alcohol kick but still won’t knock you for a loop so you can sip it all night.

Q: What does it taste like, is it sweet?
A: Yes, sweet, but not cloying.


 

Special Wines for Special Occasions

 

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We’ve been talking with Jay Buchsbaum, a wine educator from Royal Wine Corporation, who has taught us a great deal about serving wine with our meal. Today we discuss the Pink, White and Red wines by W.

Q: Pink by W – I love it.
A: Thanks, GET IN LINE …me too


 

Kosher Cabernet Comes of Age

 

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Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted red wine grape in the world.  Cabernet dominates the Bordeaux appellation of France, home of the most prized wines in the world and it has the fortitude to thrive in almost every wine growing region.  (more…)


 

The Five S’s of Wine Tasting

 

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We’ve been talking with Jay Buchsbaum, a wine educator from Royal Wine Corporation, who has taught us a great deal about serving wine with our meals. When I asked him about helping me learn to appreciate fine wines, he promised me a lesson in the “Five S’s.” So here it is – our mini-manual in wine tasting!

Q: Ok, Jay, I’m ready to start really enjoying wine. What are those five S’s of wine-tasting?

A: They are Sight, Swirl, Smell, Savor, Spit (or Swallow). I’ll explain each one.


 

Glasses, Goblets and Decanters – Drinking...

 

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Jay Buchsbaum, a wine educator from Royal Wine Corporation
has been giving us the lowdown on how to pair wine with food. Now that we know the basic principles, I say we’re ready to party!

Q: Jay, I know you’re in favor of serving wine at a dinner party, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a nice thing to do. But how important is it? People are always planning their menus but not their wine list?