By Jay Buchsbaum – communicated contest
Purim is obviously a special time of year. We read the megillah, dress in costume and remember the incredible miracles that took place for Esther, Mordechai and the Jewish people who yet again survived despite attempts to be annihilated. Cause for celebration if there ever was one. Minhag says we even drink a shtickle… enough to even confuse Haman and Mordechai.
I remember as a kid how excited I was to tear through all the shaloch manos that were delivered to the house. Seemingly endless sweets and treats. But among my favorite items were all the “mini’s”. Mini cakes, mini cookies, mini chocolate bars…and of course mini bottles of something to make a borei’ pri’ hagafen on.
At the time I of course loved getting the mini bottle of Kedem grape juice. I used to always argue with my siblings over who got to drink it straight from the bottle. And as was usually the case, more shaloch manos baskets came with more mini bottles so we could all have at least one to drink straight from the bottle.
As I mature (a debatable fact) I still like drinking from the bottle, but now I prefer a nice wine, liquour or schnapps of sorts to my childhood favorite grape juice. While the “half bottles” or “fifth’s” can be difficult to find throughout the year, they are more plentiful around Purim time.
Beginning with the classics, one can’t go wrong with the Kedem brand. If you are preparing shaloch manos for your shul or you prefer to make your own but send to the entire community, a good old Kedem Concord, Cream Red or White, or even the Kedem Champagne in the little super-mini 187 (quarter bottle) are all perfect options.
Another classic is the Bartenura Blue bottle. Difficult to find in the special half bottle size during the year, these are plentiful in the Purim season. And while some of us don’t like to admit it in public, who doesn’t love the good old blue bottle?!
Speaking of “classic”, a new addition to the mini collection are the “Classic” Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot-Argamon from Israel’s famous Barkan Winery. Always nice to have and familiar dry wine appear in your shaloch manos basket.
Some exciting liquours that are available in smaller sizes are the flavored vodkas from Zachlawi or the creamy delicious liquours from Walders. Whether you get the Walders mini gift pack (a vodka-vanilla & coffee-scotch included) or the Vodka hazelnut cappuccino and vodka mocha cappuccino from Zachlawi, these will help you on your way to confusing haman and Mordechai.
Last but certainly not least, Tomintoul Single Malt Scotch has a tini-mini as does Legend of Kremlin Vodka. And if your spirit of choice is something a little sweet, the French made Fig brandy Boukha also has a mini option.
So this Purim bring the little kid in you out and drink it from the bottle…but make it a mini!