I grew up in a primarily secular household where the closest we came to religion was celebrating Christmas, Santa-style, and cursing the lord's name whenever the Red Sox lost. Needless to say, we didn't adhere to strict religious guidelines when it came to eating and drinking, so I was completely unfamiliar with the concept of kosher cocktails for Passover when I experienced my first seder in college.
I was a sophomore when my friend invited me to celebrate the Jewish holiday with her and her family. We had met in a Judaic studies class I was taking to fulfill a general education requirement, and while she was a born and raised Jew, I was one of two students enrolled in the course who wasn't. I was curious about not only learning about the Jewish religion, but also experiencing it, so my friend extended an invitation to her Passover seder.
When I showed up just before sundown with a bottle of Cabernet and a six pack of beer, I quickly realized how little I knew about the requirements around kosher food and drinks. Neither of my contributions to the meal were Passover-approved, and although no one at the table made me feel bad about my major religious party foul, I felt embarrassed enough on my own to pledge it would never happen to me again.
Whether you're like me and you're going to your first seder, or you just want to mix the traditional menu up, here are 12 kosher cocktails perfect for Passover. L'chaim!
1. Manischewitz Sangria
Summertime is right around the corner, so embrace the warm weather and serve this fruity, delicious, and 100 percent kosher sangria from What Jew Wanna Eat. Made from Manishewitz wine, lemon-line soda, kosher vodka, and fresh fruit, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser for the 21-plus crowd.
The team at The Sipping Seder have reimagined Passover seder in cocktail form by creating brand new but classically-inspired beverages delicious and kosher enough for any seder. Try the Maror, a bitter cocktail made with beets, horseradish, and vodka. The ingredients may sound strange, but wait until you try them together, and don't forget to "think about the bitterness you have known," as the website points out, while you sip it.
3. Sparkling Paloma Cocktails
A lot of alcohol requires a certification to be considered kosher, but most tequilas are acceptable without it. Use that to your advantage to make the perfect boozy Passover beverage with Love & Lemons' sparkling paloma cocktail, aka a grapefruit margarita.
4. Twinkling Pear Cocktail
A simple alcoholic beverage that is as sweet as it is bubbly, the 10-minute twinkling pear cocktail from The Kitchn is a great option for a dessert drink. Perfectly chilled, this toast-worthy cocktail is complete with Kosher wine and fresh pear slices that beg to be nibbled on.
Another bitter herb-inspired cocktail, the chazeret-themed drink from The Sipping Seder is supposed to remind those drinking it of the hardships of living in slavery. Using kosher-for-Passover gin, vermouth, cynar, and fresh lemon juice, this cocktail will definitely make you pucker up.
6. Blood Orange Mimosa
It might be hard to find kosher-certified liquors, but there are plenty of acceptable kosher champagnes. Get a bottle of Lauren Perrier or Herzog Selection, and use it to make a pitcher of The Kitchn's sweet and tart grapefruit mimosa to share around the Passover table. All of your guests will love this bubbly drink, and not just because it's kosher.
7. Grape Mint Spritzer
A beautiful beverage complete with grape ice cubes, this spritzer, from What Jew Wanna Eat will look amazing next to your perfectly planned Passover menu. Vodka is optional, but you know it will make the drink that much better.
A representation of the mortar Jewish slaves used to build the structures of Ancient Egypt, this charoset-themed cocktail from The Sipping Seder is sweet and brown, just like the traditional Passover offering. The only difference is that this menu item is liquid and alcoholic. Improvements, am I right?
9. Manischewitz Red Wine Jell-O Shots
Not all cocktails are meant to be sipped. Some, like these Manischewitz red wine Jell-O shots from What Jew Wanna Eat, are made to be eaten. Make this recipe with kosher gelatin, and watch your guests gleefully pass the plate of jiggling Jell-O around the Passover table.
Karpas is traditionally a vegetable on the seder plate, but when The Sipping Seder makes it, it includes gin, parsley, and vinegar. Hey, don't knock it until you try it.
11. Manischewitz Wine Slushies
If you're looking for a frozen beverage to go along with your Passover activities, look no further than these cool and delicious wine slushies from What Jew Wanna Eat. Simple to make, these alcoholic treats are like a beverage and a dessert all in one.
Beitzah on a Seder plate is supposed to symbolize sorrow over the destroyed Temple of Jerusalem, but also the hope that it will be rebuilt. In the egg-based liquid version by The Sipping Seder, sweet and strong balance each other out perfectly to create a delicious and unexpected cocktail that might make you want seconds.