For adults only: Chanukah cocktails let adults have fun while the kids play

Chanukah partying is not just for the young. We adults deserve something to help us celebrate the holiday with spirit, or maybe spirits. Accordingly, here are a few cocktails to toast the season.       

The Chocolate Gelt features chocolate-flavored vodka, a clear spirit, and cinnamon-flavored Goldschläger with its tiny flecks of real gold.

The Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnut) depends on an unusual ingredient — Manischewitz sweetened blackberry wine. When I was developing the cocktail, I tasted all kinds of berry-flavored liqueurs and couldn’t find one that I liked for the drink. In the back of my liquor cabinet was the Manischewitz, a dusty leftover from seders past. One sip, and I knew I had found the “jelly filling” for my Sufganiyot. It adds a soft berry note to the citrus and vanilla vodkas.

The Chocolate Egg Cream Shot differs from the traditional New York beverage in several ways. It is small (just a few ounces), alcoholic and actually uses cream. Instead of Fox’s U-Bet chocolate syrup, it uses chocolate liqueur (such as Godiva) or flavored chocolate liqueur (such as Sabra). The sweeter dark crème de cacao also will work.

The Chanukah Gift drink is devised by Sally Berk, a friend and expert mixologist who lives in Oakland. She combines chocolate vodka with Sabra, an Israeli chocolate and orange liqueur. The drink is garnished with a small piece of chocolate gelt, a chocolate candy kiss or a thin stick of chocolate known as Baton.

Looking for something to serve with your Chanukah cocktails? Jennifer Bice, owner of Sebastopol’s Redwood Hill Farm, which makes artisan kosher goat’s milk cheeses, recommends spreading round water crackers with softened goat’s cheese and sprinkling with a mild curry powder or paprika to resemble  gelt. Or roll a log of goat’s cheese in your choice of curry or paprika, minced herbs and/or finely chopped nuts (such as walnuts or pecans), wrap in plastic and chill. Slice into coins. Bring the coins to room temperature and serve atop water crackers, cucumber slices or mini-latkes.


Chocolate Gelt

Serves 1

cocoa powder for garnish, optional

3 oz. (6 Tbs.) chocolate vodka

1 oz. (2 Tbs.) Goldschläger (gold-flecked cinnamon schnapps)

If desired, moisten rim of martini or cocktail glass with water and dip into cocoa powder. Put ice in cocktail shaker, add chocolate vodka. Shake well, strain into martini or cocktails glass. Add Goldschläger, gently stir.



Serves 1

lemon wedge

powdered sugar

1 oz. (2 Tbs.) vanilla-flavored vodka

1 oz. (2 Tbs.) citron or citrus-flavored vodka

2 oz. (4 Tbs.) Manischewitz sweetened blackberry wine

Rub lemon wedge around edge of martini or cocktail glass. Dip into powdered sugar. Add ice, vanilla vodka, citron vodka and blackberry wine to a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into prepared glass.


Chocolate Egg Cream Shot

Serves 1

1⁄2 oz. (1 Tbs.) cream (cold)

1⁄2 oz. (1 Tbs.) seltzer (cold)

1⁄4 oz. (1⁄2 Tbs.) chocolate or flavored chocolate liqueur

Pour cream in a shot or liqueur glass. Add seltzer. Gently stir. Slowly pour chocolate liqueur in the center of drink. Do not mix. Serve immediately.


Chanukah Gift

Serves 1

3 oz. (6 Tbs.) chocolate vodka

1⁄2 oz. (1 Tbs.) Sabra (chocolate-orange flavored liqueur)

small chocolate gelt coin, chocolate kiss or chocolate Baton (unwrapped)

Add ice, vodka and Sabra in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into martini or cocktail glass. Garnish with chocolate candy.

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs at Contact her at [email protected]

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].