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Illustrations: Shai Azoulay

In 2014, Tablet contributor Louis Nayman did the punishing work of inventing and sampling a different cocktail for each of the Ten Plagues. “In each and every generation a person must see himself as if he personally left Egypt,” the Haggadah commands, and perhaps the same holds for cocktails, too: every generation must make its own.

We are proud to present this year’s list of Passover cocktails for the Ten Plagues, created by Pam Wiznitzer. She’s debuting them at Tablet’s Passover Pop-Up on Sunday, April 14; get your tickets here.


2 oz vodka or Ice Chamomile tea
.75 oz simple syrup
.75 oz lime juice
pippette cherry or pomegranate juice
Stemware: Lowball Glass
Garnish: Pippette
Ice: Yes
Combine all ingredients except for the pippette into a shaker with ice. shake and strain into a lowball glass with ice. When ready to serve, have the imbiber squeeze the pippette into the drink to let the “blood” spill into the drink.

Blood permeated all of the Egyptians’ water sources. Even a simple glass of water would turn to blood the moment it touched their lips. With this cocktail, we bring that moment of bloody goodness to life with a pippette of red juice (we suggest pomegranate or cherry) that we encourage your Seder guests to squeeze into this cocktail right before drinking.

2 oz Tequila
1 oz lime
.75 oz agave matcha syrup*
edible leaf for garnish
*Combine 1 tsbp matcha with 4 oz hot water. Stir, whisk, blend until fully incorporated and then add 4 oz of agave nectar. Stir and store in the fridge.
Stemware: Lowball Glass
Garnish: Floating Herb Leaf (We suggest basil as it covers a lot of space on the glass)
Ice: Yes
Combine ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a lowball glass with ice. Garnish with an herb leaf laying on top of the drink.

Frogs here, frogs there, frogs were jumping everywhere! We all know tequila is the spirit that always gets us jumping, and this green drink is not only easy to make, but will be a favorite of your guests (because we all like a margarita variation!). Additionally, the earthiness of the matcha really “grounds” this drink, exactly like the places where you’d find the frogs jumping. Finish off your drink with one large herb leaf so it looks like the lily pad floating in your cocktail.

Inspiration: Brandy Crusta

2 oz brandy
1 tbsp orange marmalade
.75 oz lemon juice
Sugar coated glass*
*Prep your glassware before serving (best to do an hour or more before). Using a lemon or with the marmalade, coat your glass in the juice/jam (if using jam, spread a very thin layer) and then roll into a plate of sugar to cover it. Tap the glass a few times to dust off excess sugar and allow it to sit at room temperature to harden.
Glassware: Coupe
Garnish: Sugar on the rim
Ice: No
Pre rim your glass before making the drink (can be done hours beforehand if desired). Combine ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the rimmed glass.

The Brandy Crusta is a classic cocktail that is known for its crusted over, sugary rim. And if rimmed correctly, it kind of looks like the whole side is crawling with lice. We’re taking this classic and letting the lice run loose by encouraging everyone to really dip half of their outer glass in the sugar and making this recipe a smidge easier by switching out the triple sec for some orange marmalade.

2 oz Anejo Tequila
1/2 tsp agave nectar
3 dashes homemade bittered tincture*
*Infuse 8 oz of kosher for passover vodka with 1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp gentian root, 1 tsp chinchona bark (can be ordered online). Allow it to sit in an enclosed jar or container for at least 48 hours, shaking/agitating it every 8 - 10 hours. Fine strain and remove the contents from the vodka before using.
Glassware: Lowball Glass
Garnish: Large ice cubes with miniature plastic animals frozen into them (or served on top)
Ice: Yes
Combine ingredients into the lowball glass and lightly stir. Add in the large ice cube (or else regular ice cubes) and stir. If the plastic animal is not frozen in the ice cube, garnish with it on the side of the glass.

Gotta tame the beasts! Our inner wild beasts certainly do come out with a stiff drink, and we are taking the classic old fashioned and serving it up with some resposado tequila and a special ice cube that will certainly make an impression on your Seder guests. The key to this drink is the homemade bittered tincture. It takes about 2 days to make this part of the drink, so plan in advance and feel free to get creative with the flavor profile. The most important parts are the bittering agents like Chinchona bark and gentian root.

Cold Arak Shots (best if chilled in the fridge)
Glassware: Shot glass
Ice: No
Place an equal number of chilled Arak and chilled water shots on a tray (be sure to mix them up). Serve them to the guests at the table and simultaneously, have everyone take the shots.

You never know if you’re going to catch the pesky pestilence, and if you are the unfortunate one, it might just wipe you out! This is a fun part of the Seder where you load up a tray half filled with chilled Arak shots and half filled with chilled shots of water. Have your guests each take a glass and at the same time, everyone does the shot. Just like the pestilence plague, you never know if you are going to be the unlucky one or spared.

4 oz hot water
.5 oz honey
squeeze of lemon
2 oz aged rum
Boil hot water. While the water is boiling, combine the other ingredients into a mug and stir (to incorporate the honey). Once the water is ready, pour it into the mug and lightly stir. Garnish with a spice like a cinnamon stick or a lemon wheel.

We are boiling on every level here with this drink. Boils were said to cover the skin of the Egyptians, and if you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to have a boil on your skin, you know how hot of an experience that can be. We are warming things up with a Toddy variation and using some boiling hot water mixed with honey, lemon, and aged rum to conjure up that heated sensation.

1.5 oz rum
.75 lime
.75 ginger syrup
soda water
.75 oz red wine float
crushed ice
Ginger syrup: Combine 1/4 cup cut up ginger (you don’t have to peel it, but do wash it) 1 cup water, 8 oz sugar. Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend for 2 minutes. Allow it to sit for another 20 and fine strain (a cheese cloth works well). Store in the fridge up to 3 weeks.
Prepare your crushed ice by placing ice cubes into a ziplock bag, wrapping a towel around it, and hitting it/smashing the cubes with a muddler/rolling pin/heavy kitchen device. Combine rum, lime, ginger syrup into a shaker and shake. Strain into an empty highball glass and add a touch of soda water. Pack in the ice into the glass (letting it pack above the rim line) and then slowly layer the red wine on top of the drink (it will naturally float).

Hail is just crushed ice falling from the sky, so why not use it in a drink? We’re updating the dark and stormy any giving it a true Passover Seder makeover. The key to this cocktail is packing your glass with freshly crushed ice and pouring the drink over it. Because we are using crushed ice, it lends itself to layering techniques way more easily than other drinks. The finisher is a float of red wine (but keep the Manischevitz away because the sugars in that varietal will cause the wine to sink. Use a bone dry option). In the end, you have a drink that looks like a hovering, dark cloud over the rest of the drink—kind of like those hail clouds in Egypt.

2 oz mint-infused vodka
1 tbsp chocolate syrup
3 oz milk or dairy free milk
Mint Garnish
In a mason jar or container, infuse 8 oz of vodka with 8 mint leaves. Allow it to sit for 24 hours (up to 48) at room temperature. Remove the mint and store in the fridge.
Combine ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain up into a coupe. Garnish by rolling mint leaves and skewering them to look like locust sitting across your drink.

We aren’t here to tell you to put bugs in your drinks. But, we do love a classic cocktail that shares a name with the locust cousin, the grasshopper. A phenomenal, dessert style drink that is a fan favorite around the world. For this variation, we are going to skip the bright green crème de menthe and opt for a mint infused vodka. Mix that with some milk/cream source (loads of pareve options are available, but coconut varietals work best), and chocolate syrup because we always have that on hand during Passover. Finish it off with some rolled up mint leaves on a skewer to give the effect of a few locusts hopping into your drink.

1.75 oz vodka
1 oz espresso or coffee concentrate
.5 oz demerara syrup
.75 oz coffee liquer
espresso dust
Combine 1 cup of demerara sugar with 1 cup boiling water. Stir until sugar is dissolved and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Combine ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain up into a coupe. Garnish with a dusting of espresso dust.

Let’s be honest, mixing up an espresso martini is key at this point in the Seder to wake up your guests.

2.5 oz vodka or gin
.5 oz dry vermouth
dash of saline solution (or pinch of salt)
drops of chili oil
Cerignola olives
For saline solution combine 2 tbsp salt with 1/2 cup water. Stir until dissolved and store in a dropper or dasher bottle.
Combine all ingredients except the chili oil into a mixing glass (a beer/pint glass also works), and stir with ice. Strain up into a martini glass or coupe and garnish with a few drops of chili oil and a cerignola olive.

At this point, surviving 9 rounds of plagues means we all deserve a hefty cocktail. Something that will really scream “I’m still here!”—like a martini. But with the killing of many first born children who were not spared by the Angel of death, let’s flip this drink into something that’s a bit more macabre. We mix up a classic martini with some salt (the tears of those who were slain) and finish it with drops of red, chili oil (blood anyone?) and a skewer through a red olive for effect.

Pamela Wiznitzer was nominated as one of the top 10 bartenders for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 “American Bartender of the Year” award at Tales of the cocktail and was named the “2014 Bartender of the Year” by the Village Voice. You can follow her recipes and cocktail inspiration on instagram at @pamwiz.