Beer, Milk, Berries Perfect for Shavuot Drinks
FoodThe Cocktail Hour

Beer, Milk, Berries Perfect for Shavuot Drinks

What better time to rediscover the surprising look and taste of a dairy punch?

Robbie Medwed

Robbie Medwed writes for Find these and other kosher cocktail recipes there. L’chaim!

Beer fits the role of grain in Shavuot, and the Lemon-Gin Shandy is a fresh, seasonal way to use beer.
Beer fits the role of grain in Shavuot, and the Lemon-Gin Shandy is a fresh, seasonal way to use beer.

Shavuot is the culmination of seven weeks of counting measurements of barley — an omer — beginning on the second night of Passover. The barley was brought as a sacrifice to the Temple in Jerusalem until Shavuot, when newly grown wheat replaced barley as the sacrifice.

According to tradition, Shavuot also marks the anniversary of revelation — when the Israelites were given the Torah at Mount Sinai.

One of my favorite quirky traditions of Shavuot is eating dairy food. Why dairy? The laws about which animals are kosher to eat are found in the Torah. But in the days leading up to Shavuot, we didn’t have the Torah yet, which meant we didn’t know what types of meat we could enjoy. So we stuck to dairy food until we got the rules.

In honor of the barley, wheat and dairy of Shavuot, here are three great cocktails to enjoy over the holiday. They’re especially a great way to enjoy a night filled with studying if that’s your thing.

Spring’s Revelation

Spring’s Revelation, marking the transition from spring to summer, takes advantage of sweet local strawberries.

Shavuot doesn’t just mark the end of seven weeks of counting; it also marks the end of spring and beginning of summer. In Georgia, local strawberries are abundant in the spring and bring an incredible sweetness you won’t find with strawberries shipped in from other regions.

2 ounces whiskey (or any other spirit you prefer)
1 ounce lemon juice
½ ounce strawberry-thyme syrup*
2 dashes angostura bitters

Shake all the ingredients together with ice and double strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel or strawberry slice.

* Strawberry-thyme syrup: Bring 1 cup of chopped, fresh strawberries, a handful of fresh thyme sprigs, ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Cool and strain.

Lemon-Gin Shandy

Beer is an obvious choice for Shavuot. It has barley and wheat, and it’s made even better in this fun, summery cocktail. Choose any neutral or citrusy IPA-style beer — you won’t need too much, just a few ounces, so don’t be afraid to get a premium beer.

1 ounce gin
1 ounce lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup (50 percent water, 50 percent sugar, boiled together)
3 ounces IPA beer
Sprig of mint

Shake all the ingredients except the beer and the mint together with ice and pour into a rocks glass with a few ice cubes. Slowly add the beer, and garnish with the sprig of mint.

Tropical Clarified Milk Punch

Tropical Clarified Milk Punch ends up so clear that you’ll have to remind guests that this is a dairy drink.

Clarified milk punches were most popular in the 1700s but are again finding their way to fancy bars. These dairy cocktails are almost totally clear, and they have a smooth and velvety texture. You’ll need some time and patience to make this recipe, but it’s well worth the wait. Just be sure to remind your guests that these cocktails do have dairy in them.

Step 1

½ cup chopped coconut
¾ cup sugar
2 cups water

Bring everything to a quick boil, let the mixture cool, then strain.

Step 2

2 cups rum
Peels of 1 lime, 1 lemon, 1 orange

In a large pitcher, drop the fruit peels into the rum and, using a large wooden spoon or muddler, muddle the peels.

Step 3

To the pitcher with the rum and peels, add:

2 cups coconut simple syrup
1 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces lime juice
½ ounce orange juice
2 cups water

Step 4

In a second large pitcher, add:

1 cup whole milk (it must be whole, not skim or 2 percent)

Slowly pour the contents of the first pitcher into the milk, straining out the peels, etc., as you do so. The milk will start to curdle (don’t worry) because of the citrus juice. Let that sit for at least 30 minutes on the counter or overnight in the fridge. The curds will begin to separate from the whey.

Step 5

Strain the liquid through coffee filters and a sieve into a large pitcher. This will take a while; have patience. The finished liquid should be nearly clear. (If you use an aged rum, your punch might look like white wine, which is nothing to worry about.) Pour a few ounces over ice and enjoy.

The finished punch will last in the fridge a few weeks.

read more: