Monday night was the first night of Passover, which retells the story of the ancient Jews escaping from slavery in Egypt.
Around the world, Jewish families sat down to hold a Seder, a traditional dinner with prayers, rituals, matzah and wine. During Passover, Jews are supposed to consume four glasses of wine as they recall the plight of their ancestors. And, during one seder, Dan Pashman had a revelation of sorts.
"It dawned on me one year when I was looking at the Seder plate and the food there." Pashman, the host of the Sporkful Podcast, realized that several of the Passover table staples form the perfect base for sangria.
"I was thinking we have this Manischewitz wine, which is sweetened red wine — it's like sickeningly sweet," he says. "We have Charoset, which is typically chopped apples and nuts meant to symbolize the mortar that the Jews used to build the pyramids. And then I see these other fruits and things on table, and I'm thinking: 'We're like two-thirds of the way to sangria here. Let's just fill in the gaps.'"
So he did. Add in some Passover brandy, a little lemon and lime juice, plus some seasonal fresh fruit and you're all set.
Below is Pashman's recipe to fill in the gaps, though he warns to go easy. Because Manischewitz wine is so sweet, it is easy to drink and can lead to a nasty hangover, for which he prescribes his favorite college remedy: Plenty of greasy food and water.
1 bottle (750 ml) Concord grape Manischewitz
1 cup kosher for Passover calvados or plum brandy
3 cups Charoset
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices fresh horseradish, a.k.a. Maror (optional)
Seasonal fruits (optional)
Orange, grapefruit, or tangerine, peeled and segmented
Kiwi, peeled and quartered
Cherries, pitted and halved
Combine everything in large pitcher. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 48 hours. Serve in wine glasses filled with ice cubes. This recipe makes about 1 ½ quarts of pure bliss, guaranteed to bring peace and harmony to your family’s holiday gathering. Tweak it to your liking and remember, while it is kosher for Passover, it’s not just for Jews. In fact, you may find that it pairs well with a salty Easter ham.