For nearly 6,000 years, Jewish families around the world have welcomed the new year together at synagogues, community gatherings and dining room tables. Our traditions and our foods help us refuel and recharge for the coming year as we’re challenged to take a hard look at all our shortcomings during the year that is ending.
In that spirit, here are three easy-to-prepare cocktail recipes perfect for any gathering.
There’s a reason the Brown Derby, originally created in the 1930s at California’s Brown Derby restaurant, is a classic. It’s an easy recipe with simple measurements, and its honey-forward approach makes it absolutely appropriate for Rosh Hashanah.
2 ounces bourbon or rye
1 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
½ ounce honey syrup (equal parts honey and water)
Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake very well. Strain and pour into a stemmed glass or over fresh ice into a rocks glass.
Green Apple Gin and Tonic
It’s rare to find green apple cocktails that aren’t made with a sickly sweet, neon-green, artificial syrup. This drink celebrates fresh apples, using the first green apples of the season to create a naturally tart mash that mixes perfectly with gin. And here’s a bit of fun trivia to share with your holiday guests: The apple became a Rosh Hashanah tradition not because it has any specific symbolic meaning, but because it’s in season at the end of the summer/beginning of the fall and is a great vehicle for the real star of the show, honey.
1 ounce gin
¼ green apple, diced
½ ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces tonic water or soda water
Small handful of fresh mint
Drop the diced apple into a large (pint) glass or heavy measuring cup, and add the lime juice. Using the edge of a wooden spoon handle or a traditional muddler, crush the apple into a pulp. Add the fresh mint and muddle just a bit more — enough to break up the mint but not to tear it to shreds. Add ice, gin, and tonic or soda water to the mixing glass and stir well. Strain the entire mixture into a stemmed glass, and garnish with an apple slice or a lime wedge.
The end of the summer means plums are at their finest, and this rum punch takes full advantage of their sweetness. It’s also a great drink to prepare for a crowd, and its deep red hue makes for a striking color on a formal dining table.
1½ ounces rum (not spiced)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce black plum syrup*
Hibiscus bitters (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain and pour into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with a lime wheel or a small plum slice.
To make the plum syrup: Combine 3 diced black plums (skins on), ¼ cup of sugar and ½ cup of water in a sauce pot and bring to a low boil for 10 minutes. Cool the syrup, and strain it well. It will last about two weeks in the refrigerator.
Robbie Medwed writes about cocktails and alcohol at koshercocktail.com.