One of the challenges even a moderately observant Jew must deal with during the eight-day Passover festival is that of What To Drink.
Soft drink fanciers will generally look for beverages that are sweetened with something other than the ubiquitous high-fructose corn syrup, corn being a product that most Ashkenazic Jews traditionally avoid during the holiday. But those of us who favor higher-octane tipples face a more difficult quandary.
Most spirituous liquors, you see, are made from grain - and most are produced from one or more of the five grains that are verboten during Passover: wheat, spelt, rye, oats, and barley.
Single malt Scotch? No can do. Irish? Uh-uh. Bourbon? That’d be disturbin’. Gin? A sin.
That leaves us with a limited palette of brandies (which must be produced under strictly controlled conditions); eaux-de-vie; rums, and vodkas (which are OK if made from potatoes).
My traditional Pesach Potable is the dastardly Central European plum brandy known as slivovitz. It is not a drink for the faint of heart: Strong men have been known to become violently ill after ingesting a single shot. Lower quality versions have a bouquet that reminds one of Ronsonol... and yet a good slivovitz, while powerfully alcoholic, has the unmistakable fragrance and subtle sweetness of sunny, ripe plums.
It’ll just have to do until sundown Saturday.