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A Spirited Hanukkah Celebration


What to drink this Hanukkah

The Holiday at the Hive cocktail.

While there are many Hanukkah traditions, such as lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and making latkes, we’ve never heard of any kind of special cocktail.

Though the Maccabees were fond of wine, we think the holiday deserves its own festive and spirited drinks — and no, Manischewitz doesn’t count. So we turned to talented New York bartender Nick Mautone for some help. He has created recipes for top restaurants and bars around town, including kosher tipples for Manhattan bistro Jezebel. (You can also thank him for the wildly popular Honey Deuce enjoyed by tens of thousands of tennis fans at the US Open every year.)

During any of the celebration’s eight nights, we suggest fixing his vodka-based Holiday at the Hive (pictured above), which features a range of citrus ingredients and is sweetened by honey syrup. It has an unexpected pinch of star anise powder as well.

Another of Mautone’s favorite Hanukkah concoctions is the simple and elegant Pom-Blood Orange Old Fashioned that incorporates pomegranate arils and orange twists.

And tomorrow evening, even if you don’t win the driedel game and the big pot of gelt (or you don’t celebrate the holiday at all), you’ll still feel like a winner after a few sips of either of Mautone’s elixirs. Happy Hanukkah!

Click here for the Holiday at the Hive cocktail.

This story was originally published at A Spirited Hanukkah Celebration. For more stories like this, subscribe to Liquor.com for the best in all things cocktails and spirits.


8 Ways to Have a Vegan Hanukkah Celebration

Hanukkah is the festival of lights, and it’s also a festival of oil. For this holiday, Jews celebrate the miracle of a tiny bit of oil lasting eight long nights with family gatherings, food, and games. Observers whip up dishes such as potato pancakes and jelly donuts and play dreidel, spinning for a handful of gelt.

Get into the Hanukkah sprit with the following delicious vegan dishes and cruelty-free holiday gift ideas:


Hanukkah Recipes

Hanukkah is Jewish festival that holds immense religious importance for the Jews of the world. It is celebrated to commemorate the victory of minority Jews over the mighty Syrian army and the rededication of their holy temple. The Hanukkah holiday extends to eight days and Jews indulge in feasting and fun activities to celebrate their annual fest. Like any other festival, Hanukkah is also associated with some special food traditions and recipes. The menu is marked with a variety of all-fried dishes. In fact, fried and dairy food items form traditional Hanukkah favorites.

On Hanukkah, special delicacies are prepared in all the households and some traditionally popular dishes are also cooked. Cheese delicacies, latkes, and potato pancakes are some of the delicacies that Hanukkah food is most identified with. During the time of celebration, people come up with some real yummy food recipes. In this section also, we have explained some easy to make Hanukkah recipes that you can try this year and give your family and friends a scrumptious treat. So, what are you waiting for! Go ahead, try these delicious treats at home and surprise everyone.

Cranberry Chicken Recipe
Like any other festival, mouth watering dishes are prepared on Hanukkah as well, in the Jewish households where it is celebrated. In fact, the festive occasion is celebrated by feasting and the celebrators cook their favorite Hanukkah delicacies on the day, to welcome their guests. One such scrumptious dish prepared on Hanukkah is cranberry chicken, which is very popular among the Jewish fraternity.

Fried Lamb Chops Recipe
Hanukkah celebrations are marked by cooking delicacies and feasting with near and dear ones. Like every other festival, Hanukkah too, is identified with some mouthwatering dishes. Hanukkah fried lamb chops recipe is easy to make and doesn't take much of your time. Almost all the ingredients used to make lamb chops are easily available and its one of the most favorites

Cupcake Menorah Recipe
Hanukkah celebrations are marked by some mouthwatering dishes that are prepared in Jewish households. One such dish is the cupcake menorah, the perfect dessert recipe after the festive meal. These cupcakes are pretty easy to make and do not involve any cumbersome steps. You can light them up on dinner and take out the candles before you grab a bite of the beautiful-looking edible cupcake menorahs.

Hanukkah Shape Cookies
Hanukkah is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm by the Jews. It is their annual festival, which holds immense religious significance for them. They cook delicacies for treating and feasting and invite over near and dear ones for an extensive meal. Cookies are loved by everyone alike and they are baked extensively on Hanukkah in the Jewish households.

Potato Pancakes Recipe
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that is marked by treating and feasting with friends and family. Jews cook a variety of delicacies on this day and celebrate it in a grand way. Pancakes are loved by one and all and are a favorite on Hanukkah. Potato pancakes is one of the most mouthwatering dishes that can be served on the Jewish festival. Read on to know the ingredients required and the method to be followed for making potato pancakes for Hanukkah.

Sesame Asparagus Recipe
One of the favorites on Hanukkah, sesame asparagus is made in a variety of ways, according to the different tastes and preferences. It is an incredibly delectable dish, which can be prepared very fast, following some simple steps. It can come handy when you are in a hurry to prepare a side dish to add to your Hanukkah menu.

Spicy Apple Cider Recipe
Apple cider is a non-alcoholic drink that is made from apples, without adding any sugar. It is consumed un-filtered. Sometimes, apple cider is also heated, mulled, or spiced, as on Hanukkah. In fact, it is one of the traditional drinks to be served on many other festivals including Hanukkah. Hanukkah spicy apple cider recipe is very simple to follow and easy to make.

Spicy Applesauce Recipe
Apple sauce is a chunky puree prepared with cooked or baked apples. A variety of spices can be used to make applesauce, but the spices that are commonly used to give a different flavor to it are cinnamon and allspice. In the Hanukkah menu, applesauce is used as a sauce for latkes and cinnamon is added to give it a unique taste.

Spicy Walnuts Recipe
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that is marked by feasting and treating family and friends. A day of immense religious significance for the Jews, celebrators cook delicacies and engage in fun activities on this spirited festival. Walnuts can also be used to make a variety of recipes on Hanukkah. For instance, Hanukkah spicy walnuts recipe is very simple.

Cookie Recipe
Hanukkah is a festive occasion which is celebrated by treating and feasting with family and friends. With a range of traditional dishes included in the festive menu, cookies also find an instant mention when the meal is planned. Kids simply love cookies and you can give them a yummy Hanukkah surprise by baking some delicious cookies for them. Below mentioned are the ingredients required and method to be followed for making delectable Hanukkah cookies.

Hanukkah Dessert Recipe
Hanukah celebrations are marked by treating and feasting. Celebrators prepare a range of traditional delicacies on this day and enjoy the feast with their family and friends. However, no sumptuous feast is complete without some mouth-watering desserts and the same holds true for Hanukkah as well. The articlis brings you the ingredients required and the method to be followed for making a delicious desert on Hanukkah.

Hanukkah Dinner Recipes
Hanukkah is a festive occasion in which feasting and treating forms a major part of the celebration. Preparations for the Hanukkah dinner begin days in advance and delicacies to be included in the menu may include individual preferences. However, there are some Hanukkah recipes that are relished by one and all alike. This article brings you a few such recipes which you can safely include in your dinner menu on Hanukkah.


Classic recipes, new ideas for Hanukkah

Beignets for Hanukkah from "Kosher by Design" by Susie Fishbein.

"It is not only what you serve, but how you serve it," Susie Fishbein, author of Kosher by Design.

Helen and Jules Wallerstein on their wedding day, May 31,1953.

"Kosher by Design" by Susie Fishbein.

"The Turkish Cookbook: Regioal Recipes and Stories"

Chickpea Patties are a Mediterranean break from latkes from "The Turkish Cookbook."

Helen Wallerstein's Potato Latkes are light and crispy. Serve with sour cream, applesauce or sprinkled sugar.

It’s not the sort of story you’ll often find in a cookbook.

On May 13, 1939, the SS St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany, to Cuba carrying seven gentiles and 930 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. Among them was 12-year-old Jules Wallerstein, who with his family had fled their native Fürth, Germany, where his father’s jewelry store had been ransacked and burned on Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass) the previous November.

A cousin in America, Leo Wallerstein (owner of chocolate syrup company Bosco) had helped provide visas for the family, but although they and the other refugees possessed proper documentation, only 37 passengers were allowed to disembark when the ship reached Cuba.

They fared no better in Miami. Turned away from the United States, the ship’s captain frantically contacted other nations, and France, the Netherlands, Britain and Belgium all agreed to accept some of the refugees. The Wallersteins remained in Belgium until the German invasion, when Jules’ father was arrested and sent to France. Once again cousin Leo helped to reunite the family, and they later immigrated to the United States.

The Wallersteins’ story is only one of more than 80 harrowing tales told by Holocaust survivors and their families, along with their recipes and food memories, in June Feiss Hersh’s moving cookbook “Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival.” (Ruder Finn Press, $36)

“I spent hundreds of hours listening, learning, laughing and crying,” Hersh writes. “I heard incredible stories of defiance, resolve, bravery and luck. … The survivor community has so much to teach, and we still have so much to learn.”

To assist those survivors who could not remember specific recipes, Hersh brought in 26 celebrity chefs, cookbook authors and restaurateurs, including Michelle Bernstein, Mark Bittman, Daniel Bolud, Gale Gand, Ina Garten, Faye Levy and Sara Moulton, to help re-create a remembered dish in the spirit of their region’s cuisine. Poland, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Greece are represented in those recipes.

All proceeds from “Recipes Remembered” benefit the Museum of Jewish Heritage &ndash A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York. “The book captured my heart and soul,” Hersh said. “I speak about it to groups sometimes two to three times a week. We are entering our fourth printing, and the proceeds are really adding up.”

For Jules’ wife, Helen, her potato latkes, the quintessential Hanukkah treat, celebrate two miracles: the narrow escape and survival of her husband’s family as well as the miracle of the oil.

Hanukkah (beginning Tuesday at sundown) means “dedication.” It harkens back to 164 B.C.E., when the land of Judea was occupied by Antiochus IV and the Syrian-Greeks. They had forbidden Jewish observances and desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem, turning it into a Greek shrine for the sacrifice of pigs. Judah Maccabee and a tiny band of Jewish freedom fighters, against all odds, overthrew the enemy and cleansed the Temple. Only a small container of consecrated oil was found with which to light the eternal flame and rededicate the Temple. Miraculously, this oil, which should have lasted but a single day, burned for eight, and Jewish communities the world over have been celebrating with fried patties, pastries and pancakes ever since.

For Jews of Eastern European descent, Hanukkah brings mountains of latkes, those addictively crisp fried potato pancakes, accompanied by applesauce or sour cream, or even sprinkled with sugar in some circles. “With Helen’s recipe you achieve latke nirvana,” said Hersh, “a potato pancake that is light and crispy. Helen grates her potatoes on the finer side, but you can shred them if you prefer more texture.”

But Hanukkah is not the potato holiday &ndash it celebrates the miracle of the oil. In Israel, sufganiot (jelly doughnuts) are as popular for Hanukkah as potato latkes are here, where Ashkenazim (Jews of Eastern European descent) have been frying and loving them for centuries.

You don’t have to be Jewish to love latkes, and you don’t have to fry latkes to celebrate the holiday. As a break from latkes, how about chickpea fritters from “The Turkish Cookbook: Regional Recipes and Stories” by Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman?

Ilkin and Kaufman became friends through a diplomatic group both belong to in the Washington, D.C., area. Ilkin is the wife of a former Turkish ambassador to the United States, and Kaufman is a food writer, cooking instructor and author of 26 cookbooks. “I attended a luncheon at her magnificent home, where she served 23 different dishes,” Kaufman recalled. “I just had to have the recipes. When I suggested we do a cookbook together, she said, ‘I don’t know how to write a cookbook.’ I told her, ‘I don’t know how to cook Turkish.'”

The resulting collaboration became “The Turkish Cookbook” (Interlink Books, $35), with more than 250 healthful, tantalizing recipes from a unique cuisine, accompanied by stunning color photos. “Turkey lies on two continents (Europe and Asia). It has seven regions, all with different cuisines,” explained Kaufman. “If you go to Greece, you’re eating Greek food, but if you go to Turkey, you’re eating a combination of Venetian, Roman, Persian, Mongolian, Arab, Phoenician and Byzantine as well as Greek food.”

Chickpea fritters are typical of the Mediterranean region of Turkey. “They are similar to falafel &ndash a unique and healthful way to serve chickpeas,” she said. “The Turks revere vegetables almost more than anybody. Vegetables are served as main courses usually with salad and bread. Eggplant alone can be cooked at least 40 different ways.”

For dessert, leave it to Susie Fishbein, the popular author of the “Kosher by Design” series &ndash with seven titles that have sold more than 425,000 copies &ndash to offer a twist on Hanukkah jelly doughnuts. “I usually make an assortment of banana and plain beignets for Hanukkah, but the possibilities are endless,” Fishbein said by phone from her home in New Jersey. “You can slide in a little chocolate instead of the banana and make chocolate beignets. You can personalize them however you like.”

Like most of the recipes that Fishbein is famous for, the beignets from “Kosher by Design” (Artscroll/Shaar Press, $34.99) are showy but easy to prepare. “It is my last-second dessert. I keep a batch of the dry ingredients already mixed in quart containers, and then just mix it with the wet ingredients &ndash milk or soy milk, water and egg &ndash and fry,” she revealed. “The kids love to come into the kitchen and watch me bake them, and they toss them in the powdered sugar. Part of the fun is identifying the funny-looking shapes. Some look like a chicken and some like a hippopotamus.”

The luscious table settings and presentation ideas that party planner Renee Erreich and Fishbein created for these books &ndash and that photographer John Uher shot &ndash fairly leap off the pages. But everything is doable. “The food looks intimidating, but the recipes are not,” Fishbein said. “Food is so much a part of the Jewish holidays that it enriches the experience to tie the food into the holiday traditions,” she said. “That’s what my books do, without being overly biblical. There’s a place on everyone’s holiday table &ndash from the traditional to the funky and new. You can look to what is seasonal and what is current and make the menu yours.”


Whole-Grain Apple Cake

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Like your desserts on the healthier side? This apple cake may just your style. Made with whole grain flour and less sugar than your standard version, it's a little more virtuous than many recipes. However, it's still got a dense crumb and a lovely spiced apple flavor that tastes perfectly appropriate for the end of a meal or a leftover breakfast the next morning.


Gribenes is the Perfect Hanukkah Food

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I can&rsquot be the only one who, year after year, is disappointed by Hanukkah food. On paper, it sounds great: crisp potato latkes, sugar-dusted donuts, sticky sfenj, savory-sweet keftes de prasa &mdash a feast of salt, fat, sugar, and complex carbohydrates. But more often than not, the keftes and latkes are under-seasoned, soggy, and oil-ridden the donuts have barely any filling (or, worse, are filled with jelly that&rsquos never met a strawberry in its miserable life) the sfenj are dense.

An eternal optimist, I chose to broaden my Hanukkah horizon a couple of years ago. There&rsquos a treasure trove of Jewish fried food from around that world that, though not explicitly associated with Hanukkah, fits the spirit of the holiday. I delved deep into the archives &mdash schnitzel, malawach, kichels, gulab jamun, carciofi alla giudìa (deep-fried artichokes) and, best of all, gribenes.

This mix of sweet fried onions and chicken skin crisped up in its own rendered fat (AKA schmaltz) is the perfect Hanukkah food for so many reasons. Let&rsquos get into them:

1. They&rsquore Delicious

Sounds obvious, but years of living in Israel and sampling the annual array of extravagant, but mediocre tasting, sufganiyot have taught me that deliciousness has little to do with appearance. Sure, gribenes kind of resemble a newborn&rsquos bellybutton (and if that puts you off, you don&rsquot deserve them), but crispy chicken skin + jammy onions + schmaltz = indisputable yum.

2. &rsquoTis the Season to Treat Yourself

Eating fried foods on Hanukkah is basically the 614th mitzvah it&rsquos a holiday that celebrates indulgence! There is nothing nutritiously beneficial about gribenes &mdash and that&rsquos OK. Latkes, at least, are filling, what with all those carbs, but gribenes are not filling! Nor do they contain vegetables to soften the blow of their cholesterol hit. They are a true treat &mdash and, guys, we deserve them.

3. &hellip But Not Too Much

Gribenes are a real patchke to make, and you need a lot of chicken skin. My grandmother&rsquos in the habit of hoarding scraps of chicken skin in the freezer &mdash the offcuts of her Friday night roast chicken &mdash for months until she&rsquos collected enough to make a small batch. Consequently, it&rsquos basically impossible to overeat gribenes (unlike donuts) if you don&rsquot relish every bite of your modest ration, they&rsquoll be gone before you even have a chance to register their glory.

4. Tradition!

While they may not be traditional Hanukkah food, gribenes are certainly old-school Ashkenazi fare Jewish food writer Tori Avey dates them back to Medieval Germany. But they&rsquore a dying art (see my previous patchke point). Perhaps by using Hanukkah to celebrate them, we can keep this generations-old comfort food from disappearing.

5. They&rsquore Thrifty

Hanukkah is, at its core, a celebration of a little bit going a long way. Just as one night&rsquos worth of oil lasted for eight nights, so do seemingly pathetic poultry offcuts make their own, small miracle: gribenes. Perhaps gribenes are the real miracle of Hanukkah?


Holiday Foods

Theholiday spirit is a complicated web of feelings and expectations. The crispness of the air, the best china on the table, the cleaning of the house, and the new suit of clothes are all important elements of preparation for the festival we are about to celebrate. The delicious aroma of holiday foods transmits wonderful memories and ethnic consciousness. The honey cake just out of the oven tells us it is Rosh Hashanah the crisp, slightly oniony smell of potato latkes reminds us it is Hanukkah the making of matzah balls and charoset heralds the beginning of Pesach.

Holiday foods enhance and elevate our festival celebration. By reserving certain distinctive foods for special days, each holiday meal takes on its own joyous and familiar character. Festival foods reinforce the meaning of the holiday and add to the celebratory mood of the diners. Every Jewish family has its favorite holiday foods. Through time these foods have become imbued with beautiful associations and warm memories. They have acquired a uniqueness and even a sanctity of their own which are handed down from generation to generation. These special recipes are part of our rich cultural and religious heritage.

Holiday foods are as different and varied as the Jewish people. Wherever Jews have lived they have adopted and embellished foods from the local culture. Foods from ancient Egypt and Rome, medieval Germany and Spain, and nineteenth-century Russia and Hungary grace the holiday table. The spicy and aromatic cookery of the Sephardic Jews is as rich and diversified as that of Ashkenazic Jewry.

The traditional Sabbath eve meal often consists of chicken soup with kreplach (meat filled dough), chopped liver or gefilte fish,chicken or fish prepared in any number of ways, a kugel (noodle or potato pudding), and vegetables. The traditional dish for Shabbat afternoon in Eastern Europe was cholent (meaning &ldquohot&rdquo). Potatoes, kasha(groats), and the little meat available were placed into a pot and cooked for twenty-four hours in the community oven before being carried home by a child for the noon meal. In this country, a typical cholentincludes brisket, onions, lima beans, and barley or potatoes. It is a perfect dish for crock pot cooking. Sephardic dishes for Shabbat would include various vegetables, such as carrots, zucchini, or eggplants stuffed with ground meat, or delicious rice-based dishes.

Sweet foods, symbolizing the anticipated sweetness of the year ahead, are prominent among the delicacies that constitute the Rosh Hashanah festive meal. Apples dipped in honey, lekach (honey and spice cake), tayglach (honey and nut pastry), and honey cake are eaten for dessert. The challah is baked in a round shape (reminding us of eternity) instead of a braid and is enriched with extra eggs, sugar, and raisins to signify the promise for a sweet and rich year. Gefilte fish, chicken soup with three-cornered kreplach (said to symbolize the three patriarchs), carrot or prune tzimmes, and meat or fowl would complete the meal.

On the eve of Yom Kippur, it is important to serve a filling meal without provoking thirst. The meal is similar to that of Rosh Hashanah less some of the sweets. The meal is eaten before the onset of Yom Kippur. It is called seudah mafseket, the concluding meal before a fast. There is no kiddush, and the festival candles are lit after the meal and before going to the synagogue. A light dairy dinner is often eaten after the fast, consisting of assorted fish, eggs, and salads.

The Sukkot table is laden with the fruits and vegetables of the fall harvest. Stuffed foods of all kinds are served to symbolize the richness of the harvest. Cabbage filled with ground beef in a sweet and sour sauce, holishkes (or gefilte krult), are popular among Ashkenazic Jews. Israelis stuff eggplants (chatsilim) and green peppers (pilpel memula). Strudel stuffed with apples, peaches, or other fruits is served for dessert.

Hanukkah is celebrated by eating foods cooked in oil, such as potato latkes(potato pancakes) and sufganyot (jelly doughnuts) to symbolize the miracle of the oil. It is also customary to eat dairy dishes in remembrance of the story of Judith in the Apocrypha.

Hamantaschen, a three-cornered pastry filled with prunes, poppy seeds (muhn), apricots, or other fruits, is the most popular of Purim foods. It is three-cornered, tradition says, to look like Haman&rsquos ears or like the purse he wanted to fill with the Jews&rsquo gold. Haman&rsquos ears are a favorite Purim dessert. They are a fritter-like pastry, deep-fried, and sprinkled with sugar or honey. They are known as Hamansooren in Holland, Orechie de Aman in Italy, Oznei Haman in Israel, and Honuelos de Haman in Spanish-speaking countries.

The sederis a celebration and learning experience shared by all present. The special foods served enhance the beauty and the meaning of the night. Passover foods vary in Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities. Ashkenazim exclude rice while Sephardim serve rice. Ashkenazim also exclude millet, corn, and legumes (beans and nuts). The Rabbis thought that the seed inside the bean would &ldquorise&rdquo like leavening. Since no leaven (chamets) may be used, matzah is the main ingredient of Passover cooking. There is a rich variety of foods made from matzah and matzah meal. Ashkenazic favorites are kneidlach (matzahmeal dumplings), matzah brei (fried matzahwith egg and onion), and kremslach (matzah meal fritters), which recall the meal cakes offered as sacrifices in Biblical times. Matzahmeal or potato flour is used instead of flour.

Sephardic dishes are pahthut, a Yemenite soup stew made with matzahmeal, and Turkish minas and mahmuras, layers of matzahfilled with vegetables, cheese, or meat.

Dairy foods are served on Shavuot. According to legend, after our ancestors received the Torah on Mt. Sinai, they returned to their tents too hungry to wait for meat to be cooked so they ate previously prepared dairy dishes. Milk, cheese, and honey are the favorite foods of this festival. The sweet dishes made from cheese and honey symbolize the sweetness and richness of the Torah. Popular dishes are blintzes stuffed with cheese, cheese-filled Strudel, beet Borsht served with sour cream, kugel(noodle pudding), and cheese cake. Sephardic Jews serve dishes like shpongous (a cheese-spinach bake), sometimes using salted ewe&rsquos milk.

Our festivals are always enhanced through the rich tastes and textures of the holiday foods. The beauty and delight of these specially prepared meals add a great deal to the Hidur Mitzvah, the aesthetic enjoyment of our holidays.


Watch the video: Celebrate The Season: Jewish Community Celebrates The Miracle Of Chanukah (November 2021).