For those who celebrate, Passover Seder can feel like a contradiction. We dip bitter herbs (not once, but twice) in salt water to commemorate the tears of our ancestors, but drink four glasses of wine to toast to their freedom. We eat unleavened matzah slathered with horseradish but finish the meal with rich flourless chocolate cake and coconut macaroons.
Although the holiday is largely thought of as the seven days a year we have to give up our beloved chametz (leavened products), Passover is truly as much of a celebration as it is a mournful occasion. And since by the end of night two, we’ve had enough Manischewitz to last us until next year, and because wheat-filled beer is off the table, we’re turning to cocktails to get us through a week of matzah pizza and gefilte fish.
From drinks that mirror the flavors of your Seder plate and beyond, read on for seven cocktails to toast with on each night of Pesach.
This earthy cocktail can replace your health juice, or your Passover borscht. Beets are a major component of every Passover Seder — a key ingredient in purple horseradish and a replacement for lamb shank on a vegetarian Seder plate. This recipe, courtesy of Charleston’s Zero Restaurant + Bar, combines beet juice, lime juice, lavender simple syrup, egg white, gin, and kombucha for a fresh and herbaceous sipper.
After a long Seder and hearty dinner, there’s nothing more satisfying than a coconut macaroon. They’re sticky, crumbly, and slightly addicting. For a cocktail that takes a tropical twist on the classic holiday dessert, try out the Toasted Coconut Sour. To make one, shake together white rum, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, egg white, and toasted coconut syrup with ice. Dry shake, then strain into a coupe glass and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Every spring, I wonder why we don’t make charoset year-round. The combination of apple, cinnamon, Manischewitz, and nuts is as simple as it is delicious, and the flavors of this cocktail mirror it perfectly. Just fill a shaker with bourbon, lemon juice, apple cider, agave, and egg white, dry shake, then wet shake. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a dusting of cinnamon for good measure.
Cups of salt water are undeniably the least exciting part of Seder. This salty cocktail, however, is far from boring. It combines vodka, kumquats, grapefruit, lime, and orange juice, served in a salted glass. The result is so good, you’ll want to drink it twice.
This cocktail makes eating your bitter herbs a little less bitter. It combines green juice (made from parsley, green apple, ginger, celery, cucumber, lime, and kale) with gin and agave nectar. Garnish with a slice of cucumber, and toast to your freedom.
OK, Angostura may not be the kind of bitters the Haggadah instructs us to consume. But this cocktail uses more bitters than any other in VinePair’s cocktail library, making it an ideal beverage for Passover consumption. Combine a teaspoon of bitters with rye whiskey, green chartreuse, and Demerara syrup, and serve in a rocks glass with a large ice cube. The resulting herbal Manhattan riff will go ahead and make your day.
After all four glasses of wine at dinner, you’ll need something low-ABV for your nightcap. This cocktail, featuring Italicus liqueur, dry vermouth, Giffard pineapple, citric acid solution, root beer bitters, and tonic water, comes together for a fresh and fizzy concoction to end your night on a high. Serve in a Highball glass, and garnish with an orange ribbon — a nod to reform Jews’ inclusion of an orange on a Seder plate in support of the LGBTQ+ community.