Spell it Chanukah or Hanukkah: The word for the Jewish Festival Of Lights was translitrated from the Hebrew alphabet. The name derives from the Hebrew verb for “to dedicate.”
This year, Chanukah begins at sundown on December 16th and ends at sunset on Wednesday, December 24th.. The date is based on the Hebrew calendar months*, which are of different lengths than our Gregorian calendar months.
Chanukah commemorates an event in the 2nd century B.C.E.: the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, that had been destroyed during Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of Syria.
According to the Talmud, for the rededication, unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the high priest was needed to light the menorah (candelabra) in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night.
However, only one flask of oil was found, with enough to burn for just one day. Yet, the oil burned for eight days, and during that time a fresh supply of kosher oil was prepared to continue.
Based on this miracle, an eight-day festival was declared by the Jewish sages.
Traditional Chanukah foods are fried in honor of the miracle oil: doughnuts, loukoumades (deep-fried puffs dipped in honey or sugar) and latkes (potato pancakes).
But there is no official Chanukah beverage. So this year, for fun and festivity, we’re publishing a Chanukah cocktail recipe—colored ice blue, a color of the flag of Israel (which is blue and white). The recipe is from SKYY Spirits.
You don’t have to officially celebrate Chanukah in order to whip up a batch. Several years ago, we received the very same recipe called the Winter Chill.
Substitute the vodka for tequila, and you’ve got a blue Margarita!
Ingredients Per Drink
1. COMBINE the ingredients with ice in a shaker.
2. SHAKE vigorously and strain into a Martini glass.
WHAT IS CURAÇAO?
Curaçao (pronounced KOO-ruh-sow) is an orange-flavored liqueur made from the dried peel of a citrus fruit called the laraha, which is grown on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. The laraha was bred from the sweet Valencia orange that was planted by Spanish explorers.
The orange did not grow well in the nutrient-poor soil and arid climate of Curaçao. It yielded small fruits with bitter, inedible flesh. However, the peels maintained much of the sweet, aromatic essence of the Valencia.
Orange peel has utility and economic value, so the Valencia trees were eventually bred into the laraha species.
To make the liqueur, the dried peels are soaked in a still with alcohol and water, and spices are added. The liqueur is naturally colorless like triple sec, another orange liqueur.
But Curaçao is often colored, typically blue, which creates vibrant-colored, exotic-looking cocktails. The coloring in Blue Curaçao does not alter the taste.
Blue Curaçao and the oranges from which it is made. Photo courtesy DeKuyper USA.
*Chanukah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. More about the calendar.