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Hanukah cocktail???

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I want to have some pitchers of cocktails ready for my Hanukah guests. Kosher is not important. I want to start with vodka (honoring the potato latkes) and apple brandy (the applesauce). Where to I go from here?
I prefer to not have an overly sweet drink. Ideas, please.

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  1. Gin and tonic-ah (silly nod to Adam Sandler).

    My good friend does Vodka tonics and Calvados, but has Collins prep for those who want Vodka Collins(es).

    Happy Holidays!

    1. A flaming cocktail might be appropriate. Or a cocktail with some herbal elements to complement the latkes. Or and I cringe when as I write this, a sangria using Manischewitz wine.

      1. Thanks for the feedback. I do want to stick with the vodka and apple brandy and go from there with whatever juices, mixers, etc that might be appropriate.

        1. You could make a Jack Rose variant with Apple Brandy, Vodka, lemon juice and homemade grenadine. Vodka with cranberries and sparkling wine could be a good seasonal and festive drink. How about a French 75 redux, say a Polish 75 with Sobieski Vodka (my go to value brand bc of its Rye component, flavor and price point). Lemon, simple syrup, and sparkling wine.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DrinkinLife

            I'll try the Jack Rose and see if I like it. Thanks.

          2. How about something with slivovitz? Saw this "Slivovitz Cocktail": 2oz slivovitz, 1/4 oz triple sec, 2 dashes angostura. Possibly good...

            1. I would experiment with appletini's which need not be overly sweet. Perhaps try various combinations of vodka, apple pucker (not too much!), apple juice, calvados, lemon juice, and honey, simple syrup or agave (if it's too tart). I would definitely not use them all, but try combinations. A slice of red apple for garnish would be very festive.

              7 Replies
              1. re: josephnl

                Joseph, This sounds like the direction I'm heading. I plan on doing some mixing this weekend. Hard work but someone has to do it.

                1. re: ola

                  Also, if you are not already planning on latkes, some deep-fried snack would be appropriate...I'm thinking mini donut holes with a sugar/spice coating. Cooking in oil is, of course, the thread that joins both the Sephardic and Ashkenazi traditions.

                  1. re: josephnl

                    It has to be latkes or my family would disown me. I've learned over the years to serve them as appetizers so that I can actually sit down with everyone for dinner.

                    1. re: ola

                      Vodka is not a good cocktail spirit as it has little flavor of its own. Serve the vodka very cold. Or freeze the bottle in an opened up milk carton (then remove the carton), so the bottle is in a block of ice. I saw it this way at a Russian / Jewish restaurant on the lower east side. Looked like a lot of run.

                      Then make a fall-ish cocktail with the apple brandy. Maybe something with a bit of sweet vermouth and some allspice dram.

                      Any fry those latkes in reserved goose or duck fat ;) That's what Omi did.

                      www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                      1. re: EvergreenDan

                        Agree and disagree with your post. Vodka is not a great cocktail ingredient if it is the one that is featured. The oderless, flavorless, alcohol elements makes it characterless primary ingredient, see vodka "martini". The key to using Vodka as a cocktail asset is not to use it as a primary element but rather a vehicle for other flavors. We all know about the bloody mary, and that works because the vodka open alcohol soluble flavors in the tomato juice that cannot be released with other liquids and it does not and other flavors to get in the way of the tomato-spice concoction.

                        Likewise, vodka can be a way to try cocktails, or get other to try, with Mixoligest love affair ingredients. Have a friend who has never had yellow chartreuse? Instead of a shot or on the rocks of that liquor, which may be to intense to appreciate, try a 2 parts Vodka, 1 part yellow chartreuse, 2 dashes lemon or orange bitters in order to properly focus on the liquor. Same idea with other "geek" ingredients. Cynar, Fernet, "your amari of the day", whatever! Vodka, if used right and sporadically can be your friend. Just don't make a vodka-dry vermouth concoction and call it a Martini! That will surely end you up in cocktail purgatory, if not worse.

                        1. re: DrinkinLife

                          My opinion of vodka as a cocktail ingredient unrelentingly negative. I recognize that there are limited uses for vodka, but I've yet to have one that I prefer to something with another spirit. For example, I'd rather have an Alaska to your Yellow Chartreuse and vodka. If I want to understand Yellow Chartreuse, serve it to me neat, or maybe with a touch of lemon. I'd rather have a Virgin Mary and a Martini than a Bloody Mary. But that's me.

                          However, in this specific context, mixing vodka with good apple brandy is just watering down the hard-earned apple and wood complexity. If you want that, just buy it pre-mixed as applejack. It would be cheaper.

                        2. re: EvergreenDan

                          That was Sammy's Roumanian. Fun place but the next day is hell

                2. Last year the Sipping Seder guys in San Francisco came up with a Hanukkah cocktail, the Maca-Bee. Here's the recipe:


                  1. So I experimented and came up with a drink that everyone (except my 80+ aunt and uncle) enjoyed.
                    I used vodka, apple pucker, apple cider and I infused some simple syrup with fresh rosemary and last, some fresh squeezed limes.
                    I called it My Gelt-y Pleasure.
                    I am heating up the leftovers tonight and plan to sit and listen to the rain.