Passover is tomorrow and for the Jewish drinker, there’s now more reason than ever to celebrate, with an ever-expanding list of brands that offer Kosher certified spirits. In fact, the New York-based Orthodox Union—responsible for those encircled ‘U’s that you see stamped on Kosher goods—reports that the number of OU-supported alcohol has increased by more than 50% in the past decade.
In order to attain Kosher status, the spirit must be grain or sugar-based, and can’t be derived of grapes nor aged in a non-Kosher wine barrel. This has generally kept aged Scotches and Whiskeys off of the list, but nowadays even these usual suspects are now beginning to cater to the observant Jewish population. Glenmorangie, a well-known Highland Single Malt now offers several batches of Scotches to be sipped in accordance with Kosher tradition. To be Kosher for Passover, it can’t have any grains, so whiskies are out.
If Tequila is your drink of choice, Casa Vieja produces a tasty Añejo that is Passover-approved. I’ll drink to that. And if you’re looking to mix it up a bit, Portland bartender David Welch has created a cocktail that he calls the Drunken Grogger, featuring 3 parts Tequila, 1 part Manischewitz and lime juice, topped with a splash of Ginger Beer. It packs a nice little punch, and is well-balanced enough to make you forget how Manischewitz tastes on its own. Gin 209 has also come out with a Kosher-for-Passover Gin if you need a little something before you sit down for the Seder.
Brandy and Cognac are always traditional favorites to cap-off an extended evening of reclining around the Seder table. Carmel’s Brandy 100 is a suitable spirit for the event that won’t break the bank. As for Cognacs, Louis Royer VSOP is a fine example of how you don’t have to give up anything to flavor when seeking out Kosher certification.
For more obvious choices, you could always enjoy the refined smoothness of L’chaim Kosher Vodka, or wait until after Passover and reach for the diverse selection of bad-ass beer from San Francisco’s own Shmaltz Brewing Company, makers of the popular He’Brew–The Chosen Beer.
Jewish culture boasts a proud history almost 6,000 years in the making. Since much of that time was spent in the desert, they’ve no doubt had the need for a drink or two along the way. We couldn’t possibly go over all of the appropriate Passover cocktails in a few measly paragraphs, so if you want to see what else makes the cut, go directly to the source and check out OU’s Kosher Consumer Product Database.