April 15, 2024
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April 15, 2024
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Integrating Cocktails Into Your Purim Celebrations

When it comes to Purim, wine is always going to be the primary drink of choice. (It is, after all, what the Gamara discusses in the mitzvah of drinking on Purim.) While wine may be what is drunk at the seudah, cocktails can make a nice apéritif before the seuda, helping to get the gastric juices flowing. As The Jewish Link’s resident expert on all things cocktail, I am often asked for cocktail advice, and in advance of Purim wanted to share a few tips and a recipe or two for making a freilichen cocktailian Purim.

My first piece of advice is to pre-bottle your cocktails. When your guests show up at your seuda you don’t want to be standing around shaking cocktails. Most cocktails can—unless they include eggs or cream or are served muddled, frozen or swizzled—be made up to a day in advance. You can also, as I always do, include small pre-bottled cocktails in mishloach manot packages. (Many online vendors, such as packagingoptionsdirect.com, sell small “Boston round” glass bottles for less than 50¢ per bottle.)

In order to convert a cocktail recipe into a pre-bottled cocktail recipe, multiply the quantity of ingredients by five or six, so that you have about 18 ounces of ingredients, and add them to a cleaned 750 ml bottle that holds liquor or wine. Then add a cup of cold water. (This will take the place of dilution caused by melting ice in a shaken or stirred cocktail.) Cap or cork the bottle and shake well. Next refrigerate for at least three, and no more than 24, hours before serving, or rebottle into two-ounce Boston round bottles.

You are always going to want to use freshly juiced citrus in cocktails—juice out of a bottle or carton just does not taste the same. As a rule of thumb, you will get about one ounce of juice from a lime, an ounce-and-a-half from a lemon, and two ounces from an orange. Make sure the fruit is at room temperature when juicing. Chilled fruit will produce up to a third less juice than fruit at room temperature.

Every year I try to come up with a theme cocktail. This year’s cocktail is my own variation on the Commodore No. 2, a classic found in A.S. Crockett 1935 formulary of pre-Prohibition cocktails, the “Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book.” Back in that golden age of cocktails, bartenders could be rather unoriginal in titling their creations, and when faced with more than one cocktail bearing the same moniker, they would number them, hence the “No. 2.”

When I came up with this variation, I looked through my library of cocktail books, as well as online, to try to figure out how many different cocktails there were named Commodore and came up with at least six. And there may be more. So, I decided to skip ahead, in an admittedly geeky move, and call my variation the Commodore No. 64, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the 1982 launch of the Commodore 64 computer (which would become my first home computer).


The Commodore No. 64

For a single cocktail:

  • 2 tbsp. rye whiskey (My choice would be that old Philadelphia brand, Rittenhouse Rye. George Dickel Rye would be another good choice.)
  • 2 tbsp. clear crème de cacao liqueur (I used DeKuyper)
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp. raspberry syrup (Kedem brand works well, but you could also use Smucker’s)

Fill a 4- to 5-ounce cocktail glass with ice water in order to chill the glass.

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well.

Pour the ice water out of the cocktail glass, then strain the contents of the shaker into the glass.

For a bottle:

  • ¾ cup rye whiskey
  • ¾ cup clear crème de cacao liqueur
  • ¾ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1½ tbsp. raspberry syrup
  • 1 cup water

Add all of the ingredients to a clean 750 ml bottle.

Cap or cork and shake well.

If serving from the bottle, refrigerate for three to 24 hours before serving and shake well immediately before serving.

If filling miniatures, use a speed pourer to fill 13, 2-ounce Boston round bottles.

Best consumed within 24 hours of production.

To accompany the Commodore No. 64 I like to serve rye whiskey balls, my own variation on that Southern classic, the rum ball. In this no-bake recipe I use many of the same ingredients that are in the cocktail and recommend the same brands for the balls as for the cocktail.


Chocolate-Raspberry Rye Whiskey Balls

(Yields roughly 18 balls)

  • 1 package Kedem Chocolate Tea Biscuits
  • 65 grams (roughly a slightly heaping ½ cup) shelled walnuts
  • 6 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp. rye whiskey
  • 1 tbsp. crème de cacao liqueur
  • 2 tsp. raspberry syrup

Superfine sugar (aka. castor sugar) for rolling

Place the tea biscuits into the bowl of a food processor and process until the biscuits have been reduced to crumbs.

Add the remaining dry ingredients (except for the superfine sugar) and process until the nuts are ground and all of the ingredients are well incorporated.

Add the liquid ingredients and process until fully incorporated. The dough will generally turn into a large ball in the bowl of the food processor.

Roll the dough into balls of just under an inch in diameter (I use a 1-ounce ice cream scoop to create balls of a more or less uniform size) and then roll each ball in a soup bowl with superfine sugar until well coated.

Let the balls cure, uncovered, for 48 hours, then store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Gamliel Kronemer has been writing for more than 15 years about kosher wine, spirits, cocktails and food in a number of different Jewish newspapers and magazines.

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