1 1/2 oz Old Tom Gin [Hayman’s]
1 oz Etrog Liqueur [Sukkah Hill Spirits]
1/2 oz Gential Amaro [Lo-Fi Spirits]
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon leaf.
Monday was the start of one of the less splashy Jewish holidays, Sukkot. It’s a holiday that celebrates the last harvest of the year, and the three walled structure, called a sukkah, represents the temporary dwellings constructed by farmers in the field. The inside is decorated with, among other things, leaves from date, myrtle, and willow trees, as well as etrogs. These are fruits from the citron tree, and are one of the original citrus fruits from which all other citrus originated.
My friends at Sukkah Hill Spirits produce a wonderful etrog liqueur, so I figured it’s time for a Sukkot cocktail. When thinking about constructing this drink, I decided to take inspiration from the most recognizable symbol of the holiday, a sukkah. These three sided, temporary structures are a place for the family to gather and celebrate the holiday. Along with representing farmers’ dwellings, they also represent the temporary structures the Israelites built while wandering the desert for forty years. So, a three ingredient drinked is a perfect way to tie everything together.
Now back to the traditional etrog. What I love most about this liqueur is while it has plenty of citrus going on, there is also a strong floral aspect to it you don’t often find in fruit liqueurs. I wanted to play on that botanical aspect even more, so I pulled in some Gentian Amaro from Lo-Fi spirits. While there is a slight bitterness in this bottle, the perfumey aromas and floral bouquet of flavors is really what stands out. It’s a great compliment to the etrog liqueur. Lastly I used some Old Tom gin, again to highlight the botanicals but also bring in some much needed sweetness.
The Three Walls is very aromatic on the nose. Flowers, herbs, and spices all dance above the glass, with a hint of citrus. The etrog works its way through on the sip, combining with the bitter amaro for a strong, zesty kick. Gin keeps everything from turning into a flower shop, while also complimenting the citrus of the etrog. The sip is smooth and delicate, but this is still a pretty boozy drink. The finish has a some alcohol bite, but the citrus and botanicals finally usher everything down.
It was pretty fun to incorporate a traditional Sukkot ingredient into this drink. Maybe by next year I can take things to the next level and grab a bottle of Mirto Liqueur. It’s made from the berries of the myrtle tree, whose leaves are another traditional decoration of a Sukkah.