In case you’re living under a rock, Hanukkah’s eight-day celebration began this past Saturday, December 8 and will go until Sunday, December 16. Hanukkah is associated with lighting the menorah, giving a gift on each night, eating latkes and spinning the dreidel – but it’s not usually considered a huge drinking holiday. But seriously, has that ever stopped us before?
One big thing for some Jewish folks is to keep kosher, which simply refers to the way their food is prepared. Unfortunately, not all wines and beers fit within the guidelines, so finding some decent drinks can be challenging.
Kosher beer is a little easier to find because the rules are not as strict as with wine. All unflavored beer with no additives (like fruits, fruit syrups, spices, etc.) are considered to be kosher, even without certification. There are flavored beers that are kosher, but they must have a kosher certification. A lot of beers in the U.S. are kosher, like Samuel Adams (Boston Ale, Boston Lager, Cherry Wheat, Chocolate Bock, Hefeweizen, Honey Porter, Summer Ale, Winter Lager…and more), Blue Moon, Redbridge Gluten-free, Redhook (Blonde, ESB, Longhammer IPA) and Spoetzl (Shiner Blonde, Shiner Bock, Shiner Hefeweizen, etc.)
According to the kosher certification website, wine is slightly trickier. They say that gelatin, casein, and bull blood (ew) are not allowed in the kosher wine-making process. Only the bacteria or kosher enzymes from the bowl may be used for fermentation. All devices and utensils used for the harvest or the processing of the grapes must be cleaned under supervision. Bottles may not be filled multiple times and all processing steps must be implemented in agreement with the requirements of Jewish religious law (like, in the vineyard, no other plants can be cross-bred with the grapes). You may want to shop online for kosher wine simply because there are a few online shops dedicated solely to kosher wine, so you can’t really choose the wrong one. Some of the best selling wines on kosherwine.com include: Reyes de Imperio Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Bartenura Moscato 2011, Tierra Salvaje Pinot Noir Reserve 2011, and Primo-V Moscato.
Happy Hanukkah and tell us what you’ll be drinking while you celebrate.