The recipe Jo found for “The Drunken Pharaoh” was just too wacky to pass up. Clearly we needed to try it. But, we were aware that it wouldn’t really be Kosher for Passover for a lot of people observing the holiday.
During Passover, Jews avoid eating Chametz.
Strictly speaking, even if something doesn’t have Chametz, nothing is Kosher for Passover unless Rabbis have certified it as such.
Leaving that aside (as many less observant Jews do) there are two main Jewish traditions when it comes to what’s kosher during Passover and what isn’t.
Sephardic Jews, who are descended from ancestors from the Iberian Peninsula, avoid chametz but will eat corn, rice, beans and other foods that are grouped under the term Kitniyot. So if you’re following that tradition, and don’t mind that the bottle doesn’t actually say “kosher for Passover,” a bourbon-based drink could be fine. Bourbon is required to be predominantly distilled from corn. If you’re being very strict, the fact that it may also have rye would also make it not suitable for Passover.
However, in the Ashkenazi tradition (which happens to be the one my family follows), Kitniyot are avoided as well. So we wanted to find an alternative that wouldn’t leave them out.
Enter, 209 Kosher for Passover Gin from distillery No 209 in San Francisco. This botanical is distilled from pure cane sugar, not grain. Not only that, it’s made under strict rabbinical supervision so it’s certified Kosher for Passover.
A straight substitution of this gin for the bourbon in our original recipe works quite well.
The Drunken Pharaoh becomes a kosher for Passover twist on a Grape Gin Fizz. It’s still boozy, boozy grape juice… but it’s a touch less sweet. And of course, you still get that interesting crunch from the Matzo rim.
Regardless of how you choose to approach your Passover cocktail, (maybe you even have a variation of your own) we hope you have a wonderful holiday!