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The Boozy Jew: Cocktails On Purim

Cocktail culture in the US has definitely risen dramatically in the last few years.  The Mad Men influence, paired with a reemerging respect for the mixologists behind the bar is taking cocktails to a very exciting place.  I would wager there isn’t a major city in America anymore that doesn’t have a least one or two speakeasy-esque bars that are known for their signature drinks.  Many will tell you Purim is a holiday for dressing up, and usually drinking a little too much for your own good, but why drink Rum & Cokes, Vodka & Sodas and Jager bombs all night, when on the way to total inebriation you can actually have a wonderful drinking experience?

Here are what I consider some of the best cocktails for Purim, and if you don’t feel like making one, some of my favorite cocktail bars across the country as well.

The Old Fashioned – This would be Mordechai’s drink, a true classic, there’s even a specific glass for this drink and this drink alone!

  • 2 maraschino cherries
  • 2 slices of orange
  • 1 small sugar cube
  • 1 or 2 dashes of angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 ounces rye, ALWAYS USE RYE, it isn’t an old fashioned without it.  I like Old Overholdt.

Muddle 1 cherry, 1 orange slice, and the sugar, bitters, and water in a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Remove the orange rind. Add the whiskey and ice; stir. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice.

The Martini – If Esther had a drink in her hand, I like to think it would be a Gin Martini with a twist.  NEVER USE VODKA!

  • 2 ounces dry gin
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • Ice
  • Twist of lemon, for garnish

Combine the gin and vermouth in a shaker, fill it halfway with ice, and stir vigorously until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon, being sure to run the slice over the glass’s rim before floating it on top of the cocktail.

The Scarlet Harlot – Perfect for Queen Vashti

  • 12 cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugarr
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces brandy
  • 1/2 ounce Dubonnet rouge
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  1. Combine cherries and sugar in a cocktail shaker and muddle until cherries are broken up but not completely pulverized.
  2. Fill the shaker halfway with ice, then add remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and serve.

The Dark and Stormy – Complex, perfect for a king.

  • Ice
  • 2 parts Gosling’s Black Seal rum
  • 6 parts Ginger Beer
  • 1 lime wedge

Place several ice cubes in a tall glass, such as a collins, and add rum. Top with ginger beer, add a lime wedge, and stir.

The Death in the P.M. – Do you even have to ask who this drink is for?

For all you literary folk, Hemingway invented this drink and named it after his novel, Death in the Afternoon.

  • 1 part absinthe or other anise-flavored liqueur
  • 10 parts chilled brut sparkling wine

Pour absinthe into a chilled champagne glass. Top with sparkling wine and serve.

If you’re in costume, and don’t want to play bartender.

If I missed your favorite, let me know in the comments:

Summit Bar, NYC

Louis 649, NYC

Death & Co., NYC

Holeman & Finch, Atlanta

The Varnish, LA

Anvil, Houston

Sylvain, New Orleans

Bourbon and Branch, San Francisco

The Violet Hour, Chicago

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