Dress British Drink Yiddish: A Shot Called Rosh Hashanah

This blog focuses on the Yiddish-speaking parts of Europe, which were mostly East, and its influence. I tend not to look overmuch at the parts of Europe that had little to do with Yiddish, which were a lot of Western and Middle Europe. But I am also the creator of the most Jewish alcohol shot in history, and it is thoroughly German in its constituent ingredients.

But then, I suppose Yiddish originated in this part of the world and then moved east, or so most historians of the language believe. (There is a minority opinion that Yiddish is a Slavic language that somehow adopted a massive amount of  Middle High German words; as far as I can tell, that theory is considered fringe by most scholars.) So let's consider this the Yiddish of shots -- it started in the Rhineland, but has been absorbed, modified, and Judaized by an Eastern European Jew, namely me.

There are two constituent liqueurs in this cocktail. The first is one with a delightfully terrifying name: Bärenjäger, which means "bear hunter." It's apparently generally called Bärenfang in Germany, which translates into the slightly less terrifying "bear trap." And what traps bears? Honey, of course.

So this is a vodka-based liqueur flavored with honey, and it's an old drink, dating back to the 15th century, and is often illustrated with a woodcut of a bear trapper.

Our second ingredient is a newer German liqueur called Apfelkorn, which debuted in the 1970s and is an apple flavored liqueur. I mix the two liqueurs in approximately equal measures and call the drink the Rosh Hashanah.

This came about because I am a Minneapolitan, and Minneapolis is a city with a very large German population, so I frequented, and still frequent, German restaurants and bars, which always had these two liqueurs on hand, and I thought I was being funny by combining the two and giving it a Jewish name. That being said, it is an awfully tasty shot -- the mix of apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah has always been my favorite thing about the holiday, and these flavors combine quite well into a shot as well.

It is possible to make an Eastern European variation of this, but it's a little more work. There is a honey liqueur popular in many of the countries in the former Pale of Settlement called, alternately, Krupnik and Krupnikas, which is strongly alcoholic and also strongly herbal, and there is a Russian fermented honey called Medovukha that bears some similarities to mead, and I regret typing "bears." Add to this a fruit brandy from the Carpathian basin called Pálinka (apple Pálinka exists) and you have a variation that seems right for this blog, although I want to know who your liquor dealer is.

This variation deserves its own name. Let's call it epl un honik.