When it comes to wine and Judaism, only one word comes to mind: Manischewitz. At some point, we’ve all spent time mocking the sweet, concord grape nectar that gave most Jews their first hangover some time after their bar or bat mitzvahs. However, it seems that these days, the application of this wine in the world of cocktails and beverages may end those jokes.
Today, sweet wines are typically served after meals in the form of Muscats and Ports, but for decades, Jews have been using this brand as a staple for Kiddush during Shabbat dinners and other holidays. With it’s sweet taste and low price point, Manischewitz is a natural fit for cocktails. We scoured the country and asked some of the top talent in the bar scene to craft some tasty Manischewitz cocktails to spice up your Shabbat dinner.
With recipes like these, how could you not break out a bottle, mix a few cocktails and drink L’chaim to the summertime?
Cari Hah’s “Peanut Butter and Jelly…OY VEY!”
Over on the west coast, Cari Hah of Cole’s in Downtown Los Angeles whipped up a drink that drummed up a nostalgia from her childhood. A play on every kids favorite sandwich, PB & J, Hah combined the sweet grape essence of Manischewitz with the maltiness of Bols Genever to create the “Peanut Butter and Jelly….OY VEY!” Says Hah, “the genever makes the bread taste, and the other ingredients just match up. Its so uncanny!!”
2 oz peanut infused Bols Genever (recipe below)* 1 oz Manischevitz stir with ice, strain into cocktail coupe garnish is three little grapes skewered on a toothpick
*Peanut infused genever: Take clean empty bottle of Bols Genever and add 1/2 cup of unsalted roasted peanuts. Fill bottle with bols genever let it sit for 24 hours and shake occasionally. Strain out the peanuts, freeze the peanut genever for an hour, strain out any peanut oil solids.
John Henderson’s “Manischwitz Buck”
In Boston mixologist John Henderson of Tavern Road says that Manischewitz “is an interesting ingredient to play with. It’s inherent sweetness, and juicy grape flavors make a great addition for spring and summer cocktails as it goes well with fresh fruits and citrus.” His philosophy really shines though in his recipe for a refreshing Buck style drink. Its low alcohol content makes it great “if you want to throw a party and not have your guests falling all over the place. The color is also quite striking.”
2 oz Manischewitz
0.5 oz lime
0.25 oz Demerara syrup
4 dashes Regans orange bitters
Shake briefly and strain over ice into a Collins glass containing ~2oz ginger beer.
Aaron Blakely and Rob Krueger’s ” ‘Schevitz Sangria”
For a fun twist on a classic drink, look no further than the talent over at Extra Fancy in Brooklyn. Owner Rob Krueger and mixologist Aaron Blakely worked to update everyone’s favorite summertime drink, a frozen version of Sangria. “Using Manischewitz allows us to cut out the need for additional sweeteners and to focus more on other natural and delicious ingredients,” says Blakely. Coming from a venue with a highly utilized outdoor space in the summertime, this type of drink is sure to please the masses during the warm days and nights.
4 oz Manischewitz
1 oz Brandy
.75 oz Fresh Orange juice
.5 oz Lemon
1 apple slice cut into pieces
1 orange slice cut into pieces (no peel)
Combine ingredients into a blender with a generous amount of ice. Blend until smooth and empty into a wine glass. Garnish with an apple and orange slice.