Olive Oil Is The Perfect Cocktail Ingredient To Sip During Hanukkah

One of the best things about the holiday season is that we get to be creative about incorporating our shared history into delicious food and drinks. One great way to do that is by incorporating olive oil into your Hanukkah celebrations, specifically through cocktails. If that sounds a little odd, trust us, there are stranger cocktail ingredients — Have you ever had a cocktail with egg white in it? It's absolutely fantastic.

Eight days of holiday cheer means eight days of savory latkes and jelly-filled donuts, but that doesn't mean we need to slack on the spirits. You could always go with a kosher spiked cider or a simple bottle of red wine, but why not mix things up this year and get creative behind the bar? Going the extra mile is sure to impress your loved ones. If you're planning ahead of time, you can wash some vodka or gin in olive oil (which we'll detail down below), but there are also quick and dirty options for last-minute festivities.

Olive oil and Hanukkah

For anyone wondering why olive oil is a good fit for Hanukkah, it all has to do with how the holiday began. As explained by Jewish Unpacked, this story of Hanukkah began in the 2nd century B.C., during a time when the Greek King Antiochus IV was attempting to destroy Jewish culture by assimilating the Jews into Greek culture. At that time, the penalty for observing Judaism was death. The Jewish rebellion against this oppression eventually succeeded, and they took back control of their holy temple, which had fallen into disrepair.

In the temple, there was an eternal flame, which had gone out. As they were rededicating the temple, they discovered that there was only enough oil to light the flame for a single day. They lit it and, miraculously, the flame remained lit for eight days, which was enough time for them to prepare more oil to keep it lit. Scholars are almost certain that the oil used was olive oil, as reported by NPR. Today, the Jewish people more commonly use candles instead of oil to light their menorah, but olive oil still holds a special place in Jewish traditions.

How to make olive oil cocktails

If you're ready to dive in and start mixing some festive cocktails, we've got you covered. If you're feeling creative, follow your heart, but we've got some inspiration here if you need it. The quality of your ingredients has a huge impact on how cocktails taste, so make sure you are using fresh, high-quality olive oil.

One great way to incorporate olive oil into your drinks is through an olive oil martini. This one's nice because it's flexible and can work with gin or vodka. You'll want to prepare this in advance by making what's called an olive oil-washed spirit. For a 750-milliliter bottle of gin or vodka, use ½ cup of olive oil. Pour both into a container and shake them together. Keep the container in a cool place for 12 hours, and then place it in the freezer for another 12 hours. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or another fine material and you'll be left with a delicious base for your martini.

If you're looking for something with a little less prep, you can use ½ ounce of olive oil in something with citrus, like lemon juice and gin or vodka. Honestly, the world is your oyster with this one. The olive oil is going to add a touch of grassiness and richness to whatever cocktail you make. If you're hosting and are nervous about how it will turn out, try something small and taste-test it before your guests arrive.