The seder plate holds two types of bitter herbs. Both symbolize the bitterness and harsh conditions the Jews endured as slaves in Ancient Egypt. For maror, the first bitter herb, many people use freshly-grated or whole horseradish root.
Our maror cocktail is basically a “borscht martini.” We didn’t invent the idea, and we’ve heard murmurs about various incarnations of the drink for the past couple of years. Double Cross Vodka promotes a recipe for one. Eastern Standard in Boston had something similar on their menu a while back. Camper English has written about both on his Alcademics blog.
Our version comes to The Sipping Seder for three reasons. This is our favorite cocktail involving horseradish. We absolutely love beets. And, our recipe takes an interesting turn on the concept. We base our version on golden beets and use a red beet garnish so that the drink gradually changes color as you sip. It’s beautiful and fun to watch. Sip slowly to observe the transformation. Perhaps you’ll notice one within yourself as well.
As you sip the maror cocktail, think about the bitterness you have known. What is the oppression you have fled?
3 oz (90 ml) Belvedere Vodka
1 Small Golden Beet – raw, peeled
1 Slice Fresh Horseradish – peeled, about the size of a quarter (25 x 25 x 2 mm)
Fresh Red Beet – raw, peeled, for garnish
1) Cut the golden beets and horseradish into small pieces and muddle thoroughly in a mixing glass with half an ounce (15 ml) of the vodka.
2) Add the remaining vodka to the mixing glass and fill 2/3 full of ice. Shake vigorously.
3) Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.
4) Garnish with a stick of red beet (about 1/8” x 3” or 80 x 5 mm) at the moment of serving.
Use freshest, juiciest red beet possible for a dramatic color transformation. We suggest slipping the beet garnish into the cocktail as you serve it. The red color will begin to bleed out into the yellow liquid immediately. Leave it to your guest to observe or agitate the process as they see fit.
Please see notes on keeping kosher if that’s important to you.