Manischewitz gets a bad rap. The sweet, syrupy dark purple wine may be the first sip of alcohol some 13-year-olds have as they enter adulthood, while others may make it to true drinking age before they're fooled into sipping the not-at-all fine wine that graces Jewish holiday tables across the Diaspora.
While some may have acquired a taste for the traditional wine, others may despise its cough syrup-like qualities. But if you do have a bottle of Manischewitz lying around, why not enhance the booze by making a legitimately tasty Manischewitz cocktail?
Oliver Zabar, son of New York grocery legend Eli Zabar, created a Manischewitz cocktail for his New York craft beer bar, Eli's Night Shift, so you can enjoy that bottle of kosher wine down to the last half ounce.
"This is a play on the traditional flavors you find on the table during Passover," Zabar said of his creation, which is pretty much a whiskey sour with a red wine float. "Many people don't take Manischewitz too seriously, especially in the cocktail world. We saw it as a seasonal timely ingredient, and wanted to figure out how to counter its sweetness to make a well-balanced cocktail."
By playing around with the sweet Passover wine, and adding syrup made from local apples as well as walnut infused bourbon, Zabar created what he calls "Passover In A Glass," a liquid echo of the traditional charoset fruit salad that's customary on every salad plate.
"First you get hit with the apple, then it's mellowed out by the wine, and a delicious, subtle finish with the walnut bourbon – it's an easy cocktail to make at home for your Seder guests, and we bet Elijah would like it, too," Zabar joked.
The Red Sea
2 ounce walnut infused Buffalo Trace*
1 ounce lemon
3/4 apple syrup**
1/2 ounce Manischewitz wine
Shake up all the ingredients with ice and serve straight up.
*To infuse the bourbon: Toast walnuts to bring out their oils. Crush them with a wooden mallet and steep the crushed nuts in Buffalo Trace for up to three days to infuse it with tons of nutty flavor.
**Simple syrup also works you you can make Oliver's homemade version: Put 3 cups of apples peeled, cored and chopped, 8 ounces of white sugar and two tablespoons of water in a pot over medium heat, stirring until sugar and water mix and the juice from the apples begins to be extracted. After ten minutes put on low heat until you have a syrupy consistency. Strain mixture through a chinois. Save syrup. Eat the warm sugary apple chunks.