M&H Distillery’s first Classic Single Malt Whiskey arrived in the U.S. in September. (Photo/Courtesy M&H)
M&H Distillery’s first Classic Single Malt Whiskey arrived in the U.S. in September. (Photo/Courtesy M&H)

Israeli whiskey comes to Bay Area; Grateful Dead-inspired hot sauce; etc.

Food coverage is supported by a generous donation from Susan and Moses Libitzky.

While the profile of Israeli wine continues to rise, not as much is known about spirits produced in Israel. Last month saw the launch of M&H Distillery’s first Classic Single Malt Whiskey in the U.S. (M&H stands for Milk & Honey). The Tel Aviv-based company is distributing the whiskey through ImpEx Beverages to 20 states, including California.

M&H has been around since 2012 and has won several awards in European competitions. In addition to single malt whiskey, it also produces a sherry whiskey and a gin. The company describes its single malt whiskey as having notes of vanilla and oak along with subtle notes of black pepper. All ingredients used in all of its products are kosher.

M&H is available at Blackwell’s Wines & Spirits in San Francisco and San Rafael and other outlets. For information, email ImpEx at office@impexbev.com.


Unable to cook for clients in their homes during the pandemic, Berkeley-based personal chef Marla Simon of Fresh Beets Kitchen launched her own hot sauce company. She developed her recipe while cooking for clients in her business, Fresh Beets Kitchen. Her blend has habañero, Thai and Fresno chiles, with a bit of carrot for sweetness. A big music fan, Simon calls it Scarlet Fire, after two popular Grateful Dead songs that are often played together, “Scarlet Begonias” and “Fire on the Mountain,” and the label is by Jim Pollock, who designed art for the band Phish.

Simon calls her hot sauce “really approachable,” with a bit less heat than some commercial brands and much less sodium.

Simon attended the Alexander Muss High School in Israel program her senior year. It was her first time out of the country, and the experience greatly influenced her love of travel and exploring foreign cultures through food. If not for that trip, Simon says, she probably would be in an entirely different profession.

A new batch of Scarlet Fire is currently being made; it can be preordered at scarletfirehotsauce.com.


Mourad Lahlou, the award-winning Moroccan chef with the eponymous restaurant in San Francisco, is now offering an Israeli menu meal kit called “Mah Zeh” in collaboration with one of his chefs, Charles Fulbright. The dinner includes numerous salatim, malawach and a honey-harissa lamb shank for $80 for two people. More at mouradsf.com/menus.

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."