For the Ashke­nazi cock­tail, take dill, Mar­tini and one mover and shaker

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

ONE SUB­JECT guar­an­teed to fill a room at Lim­mud is that of food and drink. So it was no sur­prise when the small room booked out for the ses­sion on Ashke­nazi cock­tails was full to burst­ing.

Peo­ple squeezed in and sat on the floor to watch Liz Alpern, co-founder of the Ge­filte­ria, an “ar­ti­san” food busi­ness based in New York, share her pas­sion for old-world Jewish nosh and ex­plain how an Ashke­nazi cock­tail is made.

“My grand­fa­ther was not sit­ting in the shtetl sip­ping on a Mar­tini,” she told the guests, all hop­ing to get a taste of a cock­tail at the end.

“We all love cock­tails and it is an amaz­ing way to ex­plore Ashke­nazi flavours.”

Dur­ing the ses­sion, she in­vited ea­ger guests to get up and make one of two cock­tails: a Sour Dill Mar­tini or the Cel­ery Collins.

She said: “Cel­ery and dill are two very big flavours in our food and they make a great ad­di­tion to a cock­tail if you want some­thing that is a bit savoury and refreshing.

“We are go­ing to make syrups and cock­tails flavoured with Ashke­nazi- in­spired spices and flavours, like car­away, and pair them with liquors they go well with.”

The front row of un­der-18s looked dis­ap­pointed as they were re­fused a chance to chop a pickle to garnish the gin- and vodka-based drinks.

Vol­un­teer Matthew Grob from the United States was given the all-im­por­tant task of squash­ing limes for the Cel­ery Collins.

He said: “cel­ery soda is sold in the States and it is really pop­u­lar drink in Jewish delis, so the Collins tastes a bit like that.

“It is in­cred­i­bly refreshing with a hint of cel­ery so it has a sweet-and­savoury taste.”

Mr Grob said he loved the idea of “hon­our­ing” his roots by try­ing new things in the kitchen.

Fel­low vol­un­teer Rachel Adel­stein agreed. “This is one of Lim­mud’s lighter ses­sions.

“It is fun. My dad used to drink cel­ery soda a lot and the cock­tail tastes like an al­co­holic version of that.

“What is really fun is you can do this at home and it is great way to en­ter­tain party guests.”

For Ms Alpern, 30, com­ing to Lim­mud was a chance to share her pas­sion for Ashke­nazi flavours.

She said: “I’m really ex­cited about be­ing here. I’m do­ing four ses­sions.

“The idea is to en­gage peo­ple in the food and that is not hard when you are talk­ing to Jews; ev­ery­one likes to get in­volved.”

She said, how­ever, that “Ashke­nazi food has a pretty bad rep­u­ta­tion; we think of it as bland, brown or ex­treme flavours of sweet or sour.

“But that is be­cause peo­ple are not making it by hand any more.”

Last year, Ms Alpern was listed as one of Forbes’ 30 un­der-30s to watch in the world of food and drink.

A mat­ter of taste: ea­ger hands and mouths at the ready in Liz Alpern’s ses­sion

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