A Passover meal you can sip

Chicago Sun-Times - - SUN-TIMES AGENDA - By JU­LIA THIEL @ ju­liathiel

BRAN­DON PHILLIPS, bar­tender at the DUCK I NN, had never tried GE­FILTE FISH be­fore Drum­bar’s Gary Matthews chal­lenged him to cre­ate a cock­tail with the tra­di­tional Passover dish of poached ground white­fish. So he called a Jewish friend, who, Phillips says, “seemed sur­prised. He was like, you want to buy ge­filte fish? Why?”

Phillips ended up go­ing to Manny’s to get the ge­filte fish. He says the deli’s ver­sion ac­tu­ally tastes pretty good, with “the tex­ture of a matzo ball— it’s very mild.” He’d learned from his friend that ge­filte fish is usu­ally eaten with car­rots and chrain ( a beet and horse­rad­ish rel­ish), and de­cided to make a cock­tail that would in­cor­po­rate all those el­e­ments. It’s “very rem­i­nis­cent of the tra­di­tional meal, in liq­uid form,” he says.

He started by in­fus­ing the ge­filte fish into slivovitz, a kosher plum brandy, blend­ing the two to­gether and cook­ing them sous vide be­fore freez­ing the mix­ture overnight. Af­ter he sep­a­rated the liq­uid from the fish meat and oil, he says, the re­sult was “very in­tensely fla­vored slivovitz.” Phillips says a syrup he made with chrain, cook­ing it with sugar and water and then strain­ing out the solids, turned out sur­pris­ingly well: “It’s sweet up front and then got this rich, kind of pur­ple beet f la­vor with a nice spice on the back end.” He also added Manis­che­witz Concord Grape Wine (“to stay tra­di­tional”), along with some lemon juice and a few drops of saline so­lu­tion. He gar­nished the drink with a car­rot rib­bon.

“I wanted to do some­thing that would be right at home in a Jewish house­hold dur­ing Passover,” Phillip says. “I def­i­nitely made a ko- sher cock­tail. I’m not sure of all the rules, but I think it’s kosher for Passover.”

As for the fla­vor, you can taste the ge­filte fish in the cock­tail, he says. “I didn’t want to mask it. That felt like cheat­ing. It’s def­i­nitely there and in force.”

MAZEL TOV

.75 OZ LEMON JUICE 1 OZ CHRAIN SYRUP* 1 OZ MANIS­CHE­WITZ CONCORD GRAPE WINE 1.5 OZ MARASKA SLIVOVITZ IN­FUSED WITH

GE­FILTE FISH** A FEW DROPS SALINE SO­LU­TION RIB­BON OF CAR­ROT Add all in­gre­di­ents ex­cept car­rot to a shaker with ice; shake and dou­ble strain into a cock­tail glass. Gar­nish with car­rot. * Chrain syrup: Com­bine ten ounces sugar and ten ounces water in a sau­cepan with one ounce of chrain. Bring to a boil and then fine strain. ** Slivovitz in­fused with ge­filte fish: Blend one ball of ge­filte fish with one bot­tle of Maraska Slivovitz. Vac­uum seal and cook sous vide at 250 de­grees Fahren­heit for one hour. Chill in an ice bath, cut bag open, and fine strain through a cof­fee fil­ter. Place liq­uid in a ma­son jar and freeze overnight. Strain again through a cof­fee fil­ter. WHO’S NEXT: Phillips has chal­lenged JACYARA DE OLIVEIRA of BEATNIK to cre­ate a cock­tail with TOMALLEY, “the dis­gust­ing green guts of lob­sters.”

CHRIS BUDDY

The Mazel Tov cock­tail by Bran­don Phillips of the Duck Inn

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