Wednesday night marks the beginning of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana. Many of the traditional foods for the holiday, like apples dipped in honey, are sweet, symbolizing our wishes for a sweet new year. But my favorite food moment actually comes on the second night of Rosh Hashana. Not all Jews celebrate a second night, but those who do usually make a point of eating a “new” fruit – one that’s just come into season and we haven’t gotten to eat yet — so we can make the blessing shehechiyanu, giving thanks for the new and unusual experience.
Now my mom takes this as an opportunity to serve fruits that are well out of ordinary, like the golden star fruit or the dimpled passion fruit. But no matter what exotic produce she finds, there is always a pomegranate which my sister will have expertly deseeded in a bowl of water. Pomegranates, or rimonim as they are called in Hebrew, are in season right now in Israel, and have popped up in Jewish thought since Biblical times. They are ripe with symbolism; tradition holds that each fruit contains 613 seeds, which is the number of mitzvot, or commandments, in the Torah.
Most blog posts I’ve seen for Rosh Hashana offer a good apple dish or honey cake, but in honor of our second night tradition, I’m sharing a tasty cocktail featuring pomegranate molasses, honey and rum. You can find the molasses at most Middle Eastern shops for just a couple of dollars; I’ve heard that Whole Foods sells it as well. And while the rum isn’t exactly a symbol of the Jewish new year, it is sweet. Besides, if you’re hosting guests for both nights of Rosh Hashana, you might be ready to say shehechiyanu over a stiff drink.
Pomegranate Cooler for Rosh Hashana (with help from Martha Stewart)
1 ounce dark rum
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
5 mint leaves
4 ounces seltzer
Stir together dark rum, honey, pomegranate molasses, and mint leaves in a small glass, crushing mint with the back of a spoon. Add ice cubes and top with seltzer.
I love that tradition! I didn’t know about it. But pomegranates have a magic about them, and your cocktail looks irresistible!
This pomegranate cooler sounds fantastic! I must find some pomegranate molasses.
I love this cocktail and it’s on our menu now for 2nd night! We usually have an exotic fruit as our new fruit, too. Star fruit or baby kiwis are favorites, and last year we had a chermoya.
Wishing you a sweet and healthy New Year!
What a neat tip to use up some of that extra pomegranate molasses I have from a long-forgotten recipe! I also really like the trick on deseeding a fresh pomegranate under water.
Man, I could really use one of these right now. Why do I have no rum in the house? Oh, the existential question the new year brings
Shana tova to you and yours.
Yay! I knew there was a reason I bought pomegranate molasses. Happy holidays to you!
Fun! What a great way to celebrate the holiday. This drink looks so tasty.
Oooh, this looks just perfect for the holiday & for fall. I thought there might be apple cider before I read further, but the idea of pomegranate molasses is just perfect!
I love this idea for a pomegranate cooler! I can’t believe the season has come around again for pomegranates, but this is a great way to celebrate the holiday. Thanks for sharing!