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12 Yuletide-Themed Cocktails for Hanukkah

June 08, 2021

With Christmas eve coinciding with the first night of Hanukkah for only the fifth time in 100 years, here are a dozen yuletide Hanukkah cocktails—one for each of the 8 candles plus the shamash, and an additional 3 for rounding out all 12 days of Christmas. To you and yours, a hearty L’chaim!

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For the Jerusalem Winter Tweet

  • 1½ oz pear-infused vodka
  • 3oz pomegranate juice
  • 1½ oz gin
  • ½ oz blue agave syrup
  • 6ice cubes

For the Converso Punch

  • 1bottle cava (Freixenet Excelencia—it’s mevushal, who knew?)
  • 6oz potato vodka
  • 4oz triple sec
  • 12oz Manischewitz Blackberry wine
  • 8oz Christian Brothers brandy
  • 16oz fresh orange juice
  • 32oz apple cider
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3cups seedless red grapes
  • One Jaffa or Valencia Orange sliced into thin wheels
  • Block of ice

For the Kislev Capitulator

  • 1oz yellow (because it’s not as strong as the green) Chartreuse
  • ½ oz Calvados
  • 1oz Cointreau
  • White of 1 egg (makes 2 servings)
  • Peychaud’s Aromatic Cocktail Bitters

For the Maccabeener

  • 1oz mezcal
  • 1oz vanilla flavored vodka
  • ½ oz Kahlua
  • 2½ oz cold milk (or light cream)
  • Dash orange bitters

For the Loaded Dreidel

  • 1½ oz potato vodka
  • 1½ oz Goldschlager
  • ¾ oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur (or Cherry Heering)

For the The Shitstorm

  • 1½ oz Gosling’s rum
  • 1½ oz potato vodka
  • ¾ oz crème de cocoa
  • 2pinches powdered cinnamon

For the Rudolph-the-Shamas

  • 3oz Jim Beam
  • ½ oz white peppermint schnapps
  • 1oz sweet red vermouth
  • Bright red maraschino cherry

For the Toasty Moishe Kringle

  • ½ oz peppermint schnapps
  • ½ oz absinthe (or Pernod)
  • 1½ oz Sabra chocolate orange liqueur
  • 4oz hot hazelnut coffee
  • Whipped Cream
  • Cinnamon stick

For the Noel Nogilah (makes 9 servings)

  • 1quart store-bought eggnog
  • 8oz Flor de Cana Extra Dry White rum (it’s kosher!)
  • 8oz J&B (Jewish Booze) scotch
  • 4oz slivovitz
  • 4oz Chambord
  • 3cups ice cubes
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Dash paprika
  • Dash nutmeg

For the Merry Minyan

  • ¾ oz Crown Royal
  • ¾ oz Hennessy VSOP
  • ¾ oz Johnny Walker Black (substitute Clan MacGregor or any less-than-$15 scotch poured out of a repurposed Johnny Black bottle)
  • 4oz club soda
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • ¼ oz grenadine

For the Tootsie Goodbye

  • ½ oz Drambuie
  • ½ oz J&B (or Johnny Black) blended scotch
  • 4½ oz Piper Heidseck (or favorite) champagne
  • Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-aged Cocktail Bitters

For the Shabbos Goy

  • 1 50ml airplane bottle of Jim Beam
  • 1 12oz can Budweiser (Miller, or Schlitz)


To make the Jerusalem Winter Tweet

  • Step 1

    Mix ingredients in a blender on high speed for 8 seconds or until ice is crushed to a Slurpee consistency. Pour into tall glass. Garnish with a flexible plastic straw. Prepare and serve, after the candles are lit, with pita and hummus, crispy latkes, Bubbe’s brisket, Yorkshire pudding, and cherry blintzes. A refreshing cooler for branches of the Tribe wintering in the goldene medina of Eretz South Florida.

To make the Converso Punch

makes 18 servings

  • Step 1

    Mix all ingredients except the cava and ice in a large punch bowl and refrigerate for two hours. Add ice and cava when ready to serve. Ladle into white wine glasses.

  • Step 2

    Serve with eggs sunny side up, rye toast (surreptitiously spread with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter), extra-crispy Tater Tots, salsa picante, and turkey sausage. Set just the right mood with a closed loop sound track of Handel’s Messiah, White Christmas, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire), Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, and Santa Baby playing conspicuously in the background. This drink’ll straighten your beak.

To make the Kislev Capitulator

This blend of French cordials topped with a beaten egg celebrates the invaders’ surrender of the Temple to the victorious sons of Mattathias. Instead of latkes, serve with crispy Freedom Fries in a paper towel funnel for draining off the excess grease.

  • Step 1

    Shake yellow Chartreuse, calvados, and Cointreau over ice, then strain into a martini or cocktail glass. Beat white of one egg (by hand, in a conventional blender, or with a Cuisinart Smart Stick or other immersion blender) for 12-15 seconds to produce a thick white foam. Spoon half the foam over the contents of the cocktail glass, reserving the remainder of the foam for a second drink. Finish with three dashes of bitters.

To make the Maccabeener

“Donde esta Santa Claus?” Catching up on his voice mail while staring into the flickering menorah at the kitchen table with Hanukkah Harry knocking back a mess of these.

  • Step 1

    Pour mezcal, vanilla vodka, Kahlua, and milk over ice into a rocks glass, stir, add a couple of shakes of orange bitters.

  • Step 2

    A favorite with hot powdered churros fresh from the fryer.

To make the Loaded Dreidel

Spin ‘til you’re dizzy yet land on gimmel every time

  • Step 1

    Shake vodka, Goldschlager, and Luxardo with ice, strain into Martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist. Serve with chocolate gelt.

To make the The Shitstorm

Maccabees 8, Syrians goose. What the Heebs rained down on Antiochus when recapturing the Temple.

  • Step 1

    Pour all liquid ingredients into a warmed snifter. Add two sprinkles of powdered cinnamon.

  • Step 2

    Enjoy with a schmear of foie gras or liverwurst on a slice of raisin challah.

To make the Rudolph-the-Shamas

will light up more than just the tip of your nose. In fact, it should keep you glowing till dawn. (For the designated driver, a blue knitted yarmulke and glass of lemon seltzer.)

  • Step 1

    Pour Jim Beam, schnapps, and vermouth over ice into a clean yahrtzeit glass. Stir once. Garnish with a big bright maraschino cherry (with stem removed).

  • Step 2

    Serve with eggrolls, General Tso’s chicken, beef chow fun, eggplant in garlic sauce, roast duck, and crisp fortune cookies from the neighborhood take-out.

To make the Toasty Moishe Kringle

A warm stiff ‘thank-you’ for after the gifts have been delivered and the kids tucked snugly in bed. Goes down nicely while trimming the holiday bush and getting your chestnuts roasted to the cozy song stylings of Johnny Mathis on the speakers.

  • Step 1

    Pour schnapps, absinthe, and Sabra into a deep ceramic mug.

  • Step 2

    Add hot hazelnut coffee.

  • Step 3

    Top with swirl of whipped cream.

  • Step 4

    Garnish with cinnamon stick and serve with apricot rugelach and fruit cake.

To make the Noel Nogilah (makes 9 servings)

The Menorah Hora of holiday hooch. You’ll be circling the furniture with visions of sugarplums dancing in your head. Hide the car keys.

  • Step 1

    Mix eggnog, rum, scotch, slivovitz, and Chambord in a punch bowl. Add ice. Sprinkle liberally with ground cinnamon, paprika, and nutmeg. Ladle into 6-oz punch cups.

  • Step 2

    Garnish with a little candy canes and serve with sufganiyot and fruitcake.

To make the Merry Minyan

Help keep the X in Xmas by jump-starting your festivities and blurring any distinction between the literal and the figurative, the infinite and the temporal.

  • Step 1

    Rinse rocks glass in simple syrup, reserve glass, and discard excess syrup. In a cocktail shaker, shake Crown Royal, Hennessy, scotch over ice, then, strain into syrup-rinsed rocks glass. Add grenadine. Top with club soda. Garnish with gornisht.

To make the Tootsie Goodbye

Dreaming of next Hanukkah in Boca? When the wind whistles and the pipes freeze, recite a couple of shehecheyanus and down several of these.

  • Step 1

    Pour Drambuie and scotch into a champagne flute. Fill with champagne. 2 dashes bitters. Doesn’t matter what you serve with it.

To make the Shabbos Goy

Leave the job of turning off the electric menorah Saturday morning to someone else while you wake up to this eye-opener. An especially nice last-minute stocking stuffer for the surprise shaygetz your daughter brings home for winter break. It’s also—wrapped in recycled gift paper and tied up in a fancy green bow—a thrifty gratuity for all the service workers populating your holiday tip list.

  • Step 1

    Best served at room temperature before dark. With one hand, knock back the Jim Beam all in one gulp, then with the other sip the Bud straight from the can. Nothing beats this pairing for washing down cold, purple 2-day-old latkes or—in further honor of the Hanukkah miracle—an entire individual can of light tuna packed in oil.