Chazeret is the second bitter herb on the seder plate. It is typically represented by romaine lettuce, whose roots taste bitter. Like maror, it reminds us of the severity of a life lived in slavery.
We thought about it quite a bit, but a lettuce-based drink just didn’t hold much appeal for us. Instead, we decided to take a more abstract approach to our chazeret cocktail. The recipe is based on Cynar. This Italian liqueur is made from artichokes and has a flavor profile that certainly fits with the idea of eating bitter plants.
The inspiration for our recipe came from the special Passover-themed menu at Perbacco in San Francisco in 2008. The project was a collaboration of Perbacco Chef Staffan Terje and Chef Joyce Goldstein, author of Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen. Following Sephardic traditions from Italy, many of the dishes offered included artichokes. Over the lovely meal, it was a running comment at our table that the thistly nature of the artichoke was an interesting representation of the Jewish experience throughout history.
The garnish also has a special significance. For the past 30 years or so, progressive Jews have added an orange to the seder plate. The practice references an incident in which someone asked an orthodox rabbi when women would be allowed to bless the Torah. He replied, “Women belong on the bima like an orange belongs on the seder plate.” The custom began in response, and it’s a tradition of inclusivity we were proud to bring into The Sipping Seder.
As you sip the chazeret cocktail, reflect on your own interactions. How could you be more open to those around you?
1 oz (30 ml) No. 209 Kosher-for-Passover Gin (see note below)
½ oz (15 ml) Carpano Antica
½ oz (15 ml) Cynar
¼ oz (7 ml) Fresh Lemon Juice
1) Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.
2) Fill 2/3 full of ice. Shake well.
3) Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.
4) Twist a spiral of orange peel over the cocktail and use as a garnish.
Distillery 209 in San Francisco produces a limited release kosher gin for Passover. It’s a very nice addition to the holiday, and we love that they go to the trouble of making it. If you’re unable to get your hands on a bottle, their standard No. 209 Gin is one of our favorites and works beautifully here.
Please see our general notes on keeping kosher if that’s important to you.