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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Crowd-Sourcing an Alternative Tipple

I rarely do this, but since the readership here at treppenwitz consists of a very diverse group of people, I wanted to ask for a little help / advice.

I'm not a big drinker.  I do enjoy a little wine and beer with a good meal.  But on occasion, I like something stronger.

I generally go in for Bourbon for sipping.  But if I want an Apéritif and Digestif, I generally like something a bit sweeter.

I like (but don't love)things like Drambuie, Cointreau and such.  And back in my pre-kosher days I was very partial to Benedictine and Gran Marnier.  I've discovered that I don't, however, enjoy straight brandy (even really high end brandy).  What can I say... I'm a cheap date.

A few years ago I discovered that the folks who make Sabra (a sweet, orange/coffee liquor) had started making a brandy based liquor called 'Sabra Grand' that was very close to perfect (for me).  It very quickly became my 'tipple of choice'.

Which of course meant that within a very short time, they stopped making Sabra Grand.

So... what I'm looking for are recommendations for kosher Apéritifs and Digestifs in the liquor family (based on brandy or some other spirit), which might fill this new hole in my life.

Thanks in advance for all the advice.

Posted by David Bogner on January 23, 2014 | Permalink


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Ooh, am I looking forward to the responses on this one!

Most kosher liquors are, unfortunately, way too sweet and the higher quality non-kosher ones tend to have a grape base of some kind or another.

You might enjoy Calvados (French apple-based brandy), either straight or in an apple sidecar (calvados, triple sec, and lemon).

Other option: roll your own. With the quality of produce you have, vodka fruit infusions, mixed with a little simple syrup, will probably match or surpass any kosher purchase you can make.

Posted by: efrex | Jan 23, 2014 4:18:34 PM

I'd second both of those suggestions ... Calvados may be too close to brandy if you like slightly sweet, but worth a shot. And making your own is easy enough (we have some quince liqueur in the fridge right now ... overly-sweet for my taste, but still rather nice).

Otherwise, how about 50/50 Sabra and brandy ... that might approximate your "Sabra Grand" Rosebud.

Posted by: Andy Levy-Stevenson | Jan 23, 2014 5:38:03 PM

We like Frangelico (O-U pareve certified)-- hazelnut, vanilla and chocolate flavors. It's quite good in coffee and hot chocolate. I haven't tried this yet, but I've been told that it's also very good mixed with freshly squeezed lime juice, over ice. In my alternate universe, I make my own hazelnut liqueur.

Posted by: Lynne | Jan 23, 2014 8:08:41 PM

i was in bet zeit for simchat torah a couple of years ago and someone was passing around a bottle of fig arak... i remember it being thick and sweet with some herbal notes but little or no anise.

Posted by: miles | Jan 23, 2014 11:11:12 PM

Did you ever consider Pastis (made by Pernot Ricard of France)? It is somewhat similar to Arak, but mellower. Anis flavored ...

Posted by: Sal Guggenheim | Jan 24, 2014 12:32:07 AM

Is port out of the question?

Posted by: antares | Jan 24, 2014 12:55:03 AM

How about slivovitz? OK, it's a wee bit powerful, but it makes a fine digestif... and it's kosher.

Me, I'm partial to Italian amari, but (1) I don't know which ones, if any, have a hechsher, and (2) you clearly favor the sweet over the bitter. So, not much help there.

Whatever you settle on, enjoy!

Posted by: Elisson | Jan 24, 2014 8:31:57 PM

Personally I am a fan of either the port-style wines, of which Tura's offering is my favorite, or one of the chocolate liquors made by Dekarina. Another alternative is to make your own with local or home grown fruit. My neighbor makes his own lemonchello.

Posted by: Max Power | Jan 26, 2014 1:09:11 PM


Posted by: TB | Jan 26, 2014 1:47:39 PM

Did you ever try limoncello? I think you would like it. Make sure to serve it straight from the freezer for best results.

Posted by: Mark | Jan 29, 2014 2:08:08 AM

Mark... you must be new here ;-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Jan 29, 2014 6:24:31 PM

Since you're a Bourbon drinker, how about Southern Comfort?

Posted by: Simon | Jan 29, 2014 8:02:15 PM

Coming in late, but our shul recently had Three Olives Triple Shot (espresso-flavored) vodka, which was so good I am actually considering buying a bottle (a huge deal since we maybe drink twice a year). Very smooth and light.

Posted by: Michal | Jan 29, 2014 10:11:42 PM

What about a bottle of Disaronno - Amaretto - Almond Liqueur ?

Posted by: ahuvah | Jan 30, 2014 11:52:19 AM

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