Happy Passover! Although I am not Jewish, many of my friends celebrate Passover (Pesach) and I wanted to create a Bloody Mary for those wonderful friends (and you guys, of course). I have been lucky enough to attend a Passover Seder a few years back and will be attending another tonight. During the first Seder I attended, I distinctly remember the historical, ceremonial, and delicious meal that was shared at the table between guests. From that day in time, I have loved the holiday for its meaningfulness, tradition, and, of course, the cuisine. Do not quote me on any of this, as I am sure my friends know much more about Passover, but I wanted to give a bit of history about the holiday and talk about the ingredients I used in the Passover Bloody Mary, also known as the “Bloody Mary of the Chosen People,” that are also found on the Seder plate.
Passover is celebrated by Jewish people as a remembrance of their emancipation from slavery in Egypt by God, also known as the story of the Exodus to Israel. As Israelites were held as slaves under horrible conditions in ancient Egypt, God asked the pharaoh to release his people. The pharaoh resisted, so God devastated the Egyptians with ten plagues; “the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born.” God then instructed the Children of Israel to mark their doors with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb, which directed God to “pass over” the first-born in these homes; this is where the name “Passover” in English was derived. Finally, the pharaoh freed the Israelites and they left so quickly that there was not enough time for the bread to leaven, or rise. Therefore, during Passover, no leavened bread is consumed, thus Jews eat Matzah during the holiday in remembrance of the past.
Passover begins on the 15th day of Nisan and continues for eight days in some places, seven days in others. The Seder marks the beginning of Passover and starts on the eve of the 15th of Nisan; it is a ritual performed by the family and recounts the story of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. During the Seder, there is a plate that contains six symbolic foods that are meaningful in retelling this story. The Matzah, the seventh symbolic item, is placed on its own plate. For the Passover Bloody Mary, I wanted to incorporate all of the items on the actual Seder plate into the cocktail. I did not include Matzah, but I think I was quite spot on in the inclusion of the other six items. The six symbolic foods include:
- Karpas: a vegetable dipped in salt water and eaten, representative of “the tears [Israelites’] ancestors shed during their years of enslavement.” The vegetable is usually parsley, but can also be celery or green onion, and it is dipped in salt water and eaten. I incorporated all three of these foods into the Passover Bloody Mary, as well as salt (unfortunately, I did not have Kosher salt at my house).
- Zeroa: a roasted lamb shank bone, which brings back to memory the time when all first-born Egyptians were killed, thus the tenth plague. As the Children of Israel marked their doors with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb for death to passover them, the shank bone is representative of this time. It also symbolizes the Pesach sacrifice, “which was a lamb offered in the Temple of Jerusalem and was then roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night.” I indeed roasted a lamb shank bone with some spices and then placed it in the “Bloody Mary of the Chosen People” as both a garnish and flavorful counterpart to the cocktail. If you are vegetarian, the shank bone is replaced with a beet, which I included in the mix and the garnish.
- Beitzah: a hard-boiled egg, which is a token of the festival sacrifice offered in the Temple of Jerusalem. During Seder night, the egg was eaten as part of the meal. I used a hard-boiled egg as part of the garnish for the Passover Bloody Mary.
- Charoset: a mixture made of nuts, spices, apples, and wine, which is symbolic of the mortar the Israelites had to use when constructing buildings for the Egyptian masters. In the “Bloody Mary of the Chosen People,” I used walnut extract, cinnamon, and granny smith apples in the mix.
- Maror: a bitter herb, which is eaten to remind the Jewish people of the harsh days of slavery in Egypt. Horseradish is often used, so I incorporated that into my mix.
- Chazeret: a bitter vegetable, to also remind the Jewish people of the harsh days of enslavement. Romaine lettuce is utilized because its roots are bitter, but some Jews use a bowl of salt water in its place. I did not use romaine lettuce, but I did use salt in the Passover Bloody Mary Mix.
Anyways, you can check out my recipe for the Passover Bloody Mary below. After your Seders commence tonight and tomorrow, the “Bloody Mary of the Chosen People” is a great cocktail to make with leftover ingredients. It is also nice to craft when you would like to taste all of the flavors in the Passover Seder together as one.
Mix (makes 4 pint glass Bloodys or 8 small Bloodys)
- 32 oz tomato juice (I used my usual, R.W. Knudsen’s)
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp prepared horseradish (or more if you want a stronger flavor; you can also use horseradish root)
- ¼ tsp walnut extract
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp Kosher salt (noting this in the recipe, although I did not have any at home)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 beet, sliced (raw or roasted)
- ½ granny smith apple, sliced
- 1 stalk of celery, sliced
- some chopped up sprigs of parsley
- 1 roasted lamb shank bone (for decoration and as a flavorful addition)
- ½ hard boiled egg with garlic salt sprinkled on top
- 1 baby Kosher dill spear
- 1 roasted beet slice
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 stalk of green onion
- pickle juice to coat the rim of the glass
- garlic salt to rim the glass
1.5-2 oz of vodka
Preparing the Mix
- Pour the tomato juice into a sealable container.
- Add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and walnut extract. Mix together.
- Toss in the horseradish, cinnamon, salt, and black pepper. Shake well.
- Add the beet, granny smith apple, celery, and parsley. Mix together.
- Seal the container and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Constructing the Garnish
- Roast the lamb shank bone for about an hour at 400 deg F. I coated mine with garlic salt, pepper, and garlic.
- Hard-boil an egg and sprinkle it with garlic salt.
- Roast a beet slice.
- Place the beet slice, baby Kosher dill, and half of the hard-boiled egg on a cocktail pick.
- Rim the glass with pickle juice.
- Coat the rim of the glass with garlic salt.
- Fill the glass halfway with ice.
- Place the lamb shank bone in the glass.
- Pour 1.5-2 oz of vodka in the glass.
- Place a strainer over the glass and pour the mix from the container into the glass. This will ensure the solid ingredients in the mix are not poured into the actual cocktail.
- Place the celery and green onion stalks in the glass.
- Lay the cocktail pick horizontally over the glass.
- Enjoy your “Bloody Mary of the Chosen People” and have a celebratory Passover.