Latkes and Libations


2 oz vodka
1/2 Dry Vermouth
1/4 oz Calvados
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
Few dashes Orange Bitters

Combine ingredients in a glass with ice, shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with lemon peel Star of David.

We’re looking down the barrel of the holiday season, so why not keep things festive.  This week I wanted try and come up with a drink to celebrate Hanukkah.  One option was to pull inspiration from the menorah and candles, but Homer already made the best cocktail to incorporate fire.  Instead, I turned to the dinner table, where you will always find a plate of crispy latkes.

These potato pancakes are as much of a Hanukkah staple as the menorah, so naturally this drink starts with a potato-based vodka.  Now when it comes to the condiments for latkes, people usually fall into three camps.  You’ve got your apple saucers, your sour creamers, and your combiners (where I fall).  While incorporating sour cream into a cocktail isn’t completely out of the question at some point down the line, I decided to focus on the apple sauce side of things for my next ingredient.  I didn’t have to travel to far to land on Calvados, its warm subtle spices and forward apple flavor is the next best thing to spooning some apple sauce right in the glass.  Lastly, some dry vermouth and lemon juice to add some tartness.

The Gimel-let has apples on the nose.  The sip is crisp and clean from the vodka with some earthy undertones.  A slightly fuller body is balanced by the brightness of the citrus.  Apples dance around the edges of your tongue, and the swallow has a slight but welcome alcohol bite.


Its name is a reference to the third letter in the hebrew alphabet.  When playing Dreidel, if it lands on Gimel, you take the pot!

This drink will nicely compliment your plate of latkes, no matter which night you choose to make them.  Perfect for staring into the flickering lights of the Menorah.  Even better, if you get a weird gift from your family or loved one, you can slowly take a sip as you think of the appropriate response.  Happy Hanukkah!

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