a drink worthy of a brit milah


My nephew David became an official Jew last week. That’s a nice way of saying he got his penis snipped. Most Jewish men will tell you it is a very proud moment: in fact, they will go as far to say it is the most important moment for the Jewish male. Of course, I think they say this because they can’t remember a thing of their own snipping and they need desperately believe in this to counteract the panic they feel surging in their groin as the preparation for the brit takes place. The Brit Milah, which in Hebrew literally translations to “covenant of circumcision” is also referred to as a ‘bris milah’ or simply the Yiddish, “bris.” It is the religious ceremony that welcomes infant Jewish boys into a covenant between God and all Jews through the ritual circumcision performed by a mohel (aka ‘circumciser”) on the eighth day after birth.David’s brit began as all typical Latin Jewish events do: with him and his parents arriving late. When the actual procedure was to take place, his mother (my sister) stood looking petrified (the natural expression of all mothers living this), while his father bopped around in a nervous energy, torn between giggling and crying, whisking his son away and throwing him at the mohel. As godmother, my job was a simple one: holding the baby bottle spiked with sweet kosher wine and whispering soothing lies to my nephew of how it was all going to be fine.It ended up not being a lie. The actual snipping was done in seconds, David’s cry seemed to last even less and he sucked gratefully at his first cocktail and promptly fell asleep in a drunken, all be it, sore, stupor; his first drunken stupor as a Jew. Afterwards we were all instructed to eat, as it is considered a mitzvah, or good deed, to eat at a Brit. Luckily, as in any Jewish gathering, there was a plethora of food to choose from, starting with bowls and bowls of matzo ball soup, to fish platters, to rugelah, making our Jewish ancestors proud.As everyone ate and began to relax, I couldn’t help but think my 8-day old nephew just got his penis snipped. We needed something more than whitefish salad to celebrate the occasion. We needed drinks, and good ones at that. As an Ivy League Bartending graduate (many moons ago I proudly received my Columbia University Bartending Degree) I felt some innate obligation to produce a memorable alcoholic beverage that would be unique and spectacular. I’ll confess that I was too flustered by the moment to let creativity reign, and the chilled bottles of stand-by champagne were poured and happily did the trick of alcoholic celebration for all those attending. Still, I was left unsatisfied, thinking a more intriguing and powerful beverage should have been served to complement what was, after all, all about a rather painful event.Of course, after all the fuss, David slept and squirmed as uneventfully as he has done since he was born, and our guests left full and happily jaded from the memory of the actual Brit. I, on the other hand, will need to fix one or two stiffer (All Drinks From NYT Dining, Pete Wells “Mix It Up, November 2006)The Love Unit Adapted from Ryan MagarianTime: 10 minutes 3 red bell pepper rings, sliced 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick 3 basil leaves 1 ounce vanilla rum 1 ounce light rum 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice 1/2 ounce simple syrup. 1. In a cocktail shaker gently muddle two bell pepper rings and two basil leaves. Add remaining ingredients. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 6 seconds. 2. Pour drink through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a chilled cocktail glass. Place second basil leaf on palm of one hand and slap it with the other. Float it atop drink. Balance other bell pepper ring on rim of glass. Yield: 1 cocktail.The Stray Dog Time: 5 minutes Splash of Pernod, ouzo or other licorice-flavored spirit 1 1/2 ounces vodka 1 tablespoon Cointreau 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice 1 ounce pomegranate juice (fresh or Pom Wonderful brand). Splash some Pernod in a chilled cocktail glass, swirl it around well, then dump it out. Add ice to a cocktail shaker and pour all remaining ingredients into it. Shake and strain into glass. Yield: 1 cocktail.Malta Fizz Adapted from WD-50 Time: 5 minutes 2 ounces amber rum 2 ounces malta (carbonated malt beverage) 3/4 ounce lime juice 1 ounce simple syrup 1 egg yolk Ground cinnamon for garnish. Add ice to a glass cocktail shaker. Pour in all ingredients. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds to emulsify egg yolk. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with ground cinnamon. Yield: 1 cocktail.Horseradish Pomegranate Margarita Adapted from Ryan Magarian Time: 5 minutes plus 24 hours’ infusing 1/3 cup fresh horseradish, peeled and chopped 1 cup silver (blanco) tequila 1/2 ounce Cointreau 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice 1/2 ounce pomegranate juice 1/4 ounce simple syrup. 1. In a bowl mix horseradish with tequila and let mixture sit for 24 hours. Strain through cheesecloth. 2. Pour 1 1/2 ounces horseradish-infused tequila and all other ingredients into a cocktail shaker. (You will have some leftover tequila mixture.) Fill shaker with ice and shake it vigorously for 6 seconds. Add ice cubes to an Old-Fashioned glass and pour drink over them. Yield: 1 cocktail.

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a drink worthy of a brit milah

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