A Hanukkah Cocktail for Each Candle Lit
Hanukkah is a rather indulgent experience: eight days of celebration, teeming with fried latkes, golden-foil wrapped chocolate, all the jelly doughnuts one can stomach. Yet, as festivity vanguards, we’re here to revamp the typical Hanukkah hootenanny with…what else? Cocktails, of course. While plenty of emphasis has been placed on fare for the Festival of Lights, it’s time we create new traditions with libations. Whether you’re thirsting to sip something sweet or savory, we’ve compiled a list of eight celebratory cocktails for each night of Hanukkah. Pour ’em up and get in the spirit(s).
1. Menorah Martini
The Festival of Lights deserves a cocktail that’s a little, well, festive. So, what rivals a sophisticated martini with a spirited blue hue? Light up the menorah and getcha sip on.
- 3 oz. vodka
- ½ oz. sweet vermouth
- Splash of blue curacao
- Blueberries, for garnish
Chill and rim 2 martini glasses with sugar. Fill a mixing glass with ice, pour up the vodka, sweet vermouth and shake things up. Strain into martini glasses, splash in some blue curacao and garnish with a few blueberries. Light this menorah UP.
2. Mazel Tov Cocktail
Not a molotov. You won’t explode, but we can’t promise that your tastebuds won’t. This recipe isn’t the simplest out of the bunch, but if you’re willing to put in the work, you surely won’t regret it.
FOR THE SYRUP:
- ½ oz. culinary dried lavender
- ½ cup water
- 6 tbsp sugar
Combine the dried lavender and water in a saucepan and let it soak for about 5 minutes. Put the pot on medium heat, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Cook for a total of 7 minutes. Cool completely and then strain into an airtight container. You can refrigerate this concoction for up to 1 month.
FOR THE DRINK:
- 1 oz. plum gin liqueur
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 4 oz. chilled champagne
Fill a mixing glass with ice. Combine about ¼ oz. of lavender syrup with the plum gin liqueur and lemon juice then shake it up. Strain into a champagne flute, top with champagne and voilá. Pinkies up.
3. The Dreidel
Sure, if you have one too many of these, your head may spin — but that means you’re getting into the Hanukkah spirit, right? While the ingredients may seem unique, The Dreidel is a piece of cake to pour up once you have everything on deck. Time to get turnt—the dreidel, that is.
- 2 oz. plum brandy (Slivovitz for the win)
- 2 oz. apple juice
- ½ oz. lemon juice
- ½ oz. cherry liqueur
- ½ oz. egg white
- Dash of Angostura bitters
Fill a cocktail shaker ⅔ of the way with ice. Add all the ingredients and turn the dreidel (or shake, if you will) for 30 seconds. Strain, pour into a small wine glass and sip away.
4. Chocolate Gelt Cocktail
If you’re looking to turn your favorite Hanukkah sweet into a delish dessert libation, say no more. It should come as no surprise that turning chocolate gelt (meaning “money” in Yiddish) into a martini of sorts is, likewise, total money.
- 3 oz. chocolate vodka
- 1 ounce Goldschläger
- Cocoa powder, for garnish
Moisten the rim of a martini or cocktail glass with water and dip into cocoa powder. Throw some ice in a cocktail shaker, add the choco vodka, shake well and strain into your glass. Add Goldschläger, gently stir and drink up. And, if you’re feeling extra sweet, top it off with some fresh whipped cream.
5. Silver Fizz
The holidays are often infiltrated with bold reds, greens and golds. But, what about the soothing hues of blue, white and silver for Hanukkah? With this epic Silver Fizz, you’ll enliven the holiday’s pigment palette with a sophisticated lemon + orange palate. Killin’ two birds with one cocktail.
- 1.5 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin
- 1.5 oz. fresh lemon sour mix
- ½ oz. egg white
- Dash of orange blossom water
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker until foamy (at least 5 minutes) and top with soda to taste. A true silver lining amidst the holiday chaos.
6. Sufganiyot Cocktail
Jelly doughnut + liquor = pure bliss. A deep-fried Israeli delicacy infused with jam (otherwise known as a jelly doughnut), Sufganiyots are a sure Hanukkah favorite. So, while the little ones nom away, transform this sweet treat into a cocktail for the big kids. If it’s essentially a doughnut in a cup, are we allowed one for breakfast?
- 1 oz. vanilla-flavored vodka
- 1 oz. citron or citrus-flavored vodka
- 2 oz. Manischewitz sweetened blackberry wine
- Lemon wedge
- Powdered sugar
Rub the lemon wedge around the edge of a martini or cocktail glass then dip the rim into powdered sugar. Add ice, vanilla vodka, citron vodka and blackberry wine to a cocktail shaker, mix it all up then strain into your prepared glass.
7. Barrel Aged Old Fashioned
Salty & oily latkes are about to share the limelight with a new sweet & spicy counterpart. Spago in Beverly Hills has a killer Barrel Aged Old Fashioned that we’ve been pining to make at home. So, this year we’re doing it ourselves with an awesome mini barrel. As we said, this Hanukkah is all about making new traditions with lusty libations.
- Three 750 ml bottles of Mitcher’s Rye
- 3/4 cup Demerara sugar
- 1 3/4 oz. Angostura Bitters
- Twist of Orange Peel
Mix all the ingredients (minus the orange peel) in a pitcher, stir and pour into the barrel. Store away for 4+ weeks, depending on how you like it (this requires some holiday planning). Before tapping the barrel, gently shake it up as the bitters will settle. Pour into a glass with some large ice cubes, stir to chill, then top it off with an orange twist. Aged to perfection.
8. Aleeto’s Way
Did you really think we’d write a cocktail blog without mentioning tequila? Sure, it may not be Hanukkah’s most prevalent libation, but we’re not big on sticking to the status quo. As such, behold another Spago fave. This drink is uber fresh and contains no added sugar, so one could say that it’s essentially a detox from all that Hanukkah sweetness. Kind of.
- 2 oz. Clasa Azul Reposado
- Splash of Aperol
- Squeeze of Lemon
- Whisper of Orange Bitters
Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled shaker, strain into a glass of ice and there you have it—a reposado respite from all the sugary holiday goodies.