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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Sipping Seder: Two S.F. Guys Redesign the Passover Plate in Cocktail Form

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 8:27 AM

click to enlarge Rob Corwin, left, and Danny Jacobs have come up with a collection of Passover cocktails that correspond to items on the seder plate. - HOMAN LEE/THE SIPPING SEDER
  • HoMan Lee/The Sipping Seder
  • Rob Corwin, left, and Danny Jacobs have come up with a collection of Passover cocktails that correspond to items on the seder plate.
Reinventing a cultural and religious feast like the Passover seder takes guts ― and a Boston shaker. If you thought your only options for Passover were cooking, takeout, or making a restaurant reservation, think again. With their Sipping Seder project, S.F. graphic designers Rob Corwin and Danny Jacobs have reconceptualized the holiday meal in cocktail form.

The pair designed the Sipping Seder website as a way to revive the holiday for people who might not feel terribly connected to a strict observance, or who might want to get more festive than the traditional seder's four glasses of Manischewitz can leave you. "We've been working on it for about two years," Corwin tells SFoodie. "The nature of the project is rather irreverent, but we put a lot of serious thought into the cocktail recipes. It's really a labor of love and a bit of an obsession. It required extensive research, planning ― and numerous taste tests ― to develop. We're really proud of the results."

click to enlarge THE SIPPING SEDER
  • The Sipping Seder
The site includes notes for keeping cocktails kosher, along with downloadable menus and recipe cards. And yes, Corwin and Jacobs have managed to include all the elements of the seder plate, each imagined as a cocktail:

Maror (vodka, golden beet, horseradish, red beet garnish), representing the harsh conditions the Jews endured as slaves.

• The second bitter herb, Chazeret (gin, sweet vermouth, Cynar artichoke liqueur, lemon) includes an orange garnish that on some seder plates is a symbol of protest for the exclusion from the bimah in many congregations of women and members of the LGBT community.

Karpas (gin, parsley, balsamic vinegar) corresponds to the coming of spring and the tears wept in slavery.

Z'roa (bourbon, port, gum syrup, lemon, Maraschino), traditionally a lamb shank bone, embodies the spirit of sacrifice in color, not flavor.

• The egg in Beitzah (apple brandy, bourbon, Benedictine, Galliano, egg white) suggests both sorrow and renewal, with a frothy deliciousness hard boiling just can't achieve.

Charoset (42Below Manuka honey vodka, sweet vermouth, cinnamon) was where Corwin and Jacobs started their Sipping Seder project two years ago, after combining Manuka honey vodka with sweet vermouth. "Danny mentioned that it reminded him of charoset, the sweet paste that represents mortar on the seder plate," Corwin says. "I grated a bit of cinnamon on top and our first recipe was complete."

Will these cocktail recipes create a new holiday tradition? They will if Corwin and Jacobs have their way. "We hope that the Sipping Seder will do for Passover what the cherpumple did for Thanksgiving," Corwin says. "Maybe more."

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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