In the first month that we’ve been online, at least one unplanned theme has begun to emerge here at the SF Agenda: Oddball pairings. First, we saw the meeting of beefcake and pulled pork at Sneaky’s; then, we took a class in matching teas with cheeses; and now we’re confronted with the question of just what cocktail one might choose to accompany the oversized, undersalted quenelle of ground carp and onions affectionately (or unaffectionately) known as gefilte fish. It’s a pressing question as tonight and tomorrow night are the first and second seders—the symbolism-laden family feasts that begin the Jewish community’s annual week-long celebration of Passover, high season for gefilte fish eating.
The herbaceous, saline bite of a Dirty Martini seems just right. The salt of the olive juice reintroduces some briny depth to what is often little more than a bland, room temperature fish burger; and typical gin botanicals —including lemon peel and cucumber—are classic partners of the piscine.
Well, at Distillery No. 209, that inventive den of contemporary booze-craft hidden away on a pier behind AT&T Park, they’ve actually concocted a Semitic gin and a facacta vodka.
The elixirs earn their Kosher for Passover creds by beginning with a spirit base derived from South African sugar cane rather than grain, and continuing with other ingredients sourced and prepared under the close supervision of the Orthodox Union. (Please note the scrupulous avoidance of the scarlet A-word. SF Agenda has nothing but disdain for that overworked adjective “Artisanal” and will not use it except in curmudgeonly digressions such as this one).
So, four questions: “Was the world clamoring for Kosher for Passover gin and vodka?”; “Can we put a Bloody Mary out the door for Elijah?”; ”Is this just a big marketing stunt?”; and “So, you’d rather stick with Manischewitz?”
To which we solemnly reply: “Bubeleh, you think too much and you imbibe too little. Sheket, and drink it. It’s the perfect excuse for a circumcised cocktail. Dayenu!”