Home December 2013 Taste with a Twist

Taste with a Twist

In October, a unique programmatic offering in the area kicked off a new year, designed for Jewish adults.  The “Texts & Tastings” series features spirits tastings accompanied by an in-depth textual exploration with Rabbi Drew Kaplan.  Held on October 20 in Long Beach, “Vodkas & Vampires” was the first of four bimonthly tasting events for the 2013-2014 year series.  The evening allowed for a tasting of seven different vodkas while examining Jewish angles on vampires.
The “Texts & Tastings” series is in its second year, building off of last year’s series.  Last year’s series began in October with “Witches & Whiskies,” which explored the prohibitions concerning sorcery in Judaism along with an entree into several different types of whiskies.  The second event, in December, continued on to “Torches & Tequilas,” which featured a pleasant pairing of foods with the tequilas and an inquiry as to why Jews light Chanukah candles.  The tequilas presented that evening – a blanco, reposado, and an añejo – were all double-gold winners at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and were delicately paired with food, thanks to the assistance of Guershon Moreno.  “I love how Rabbi Drew has paired Jewish learning with an education in alcohol,” said Moreno.  The tequilas were great,” said Steve Faulkner.  “It was interesting to go to a tasting to try things I would probably never purchase myself.”
The third event, taking place in February, “Rums & Rituals,” explored various rums from around the Caribbean and why Jews incorporate wine at a variety of our rituals – from holiday events to different lifecycle events.  Last year’s series concluded with a journey through Jewish attitudes concerning alcohol consumption, alongside a tasting of over a half-dozen different single-malt Scotches, sponsored by Cheryl and Farley Herzek of Long Beach.  “Combining a single-malt Scotch tasting with education on alcohol in the Jewish tradition brought together a diverse mix of people,” said Josh Kaplan.  “Rabbi Drew blends his interest in spirits with a unique style of learning, making for very enjoyable evenings!”
The series is held at private homes and is intended for any adult, provided that he or she is at least of legal drinking age.  The series has three goals, the first of which is to “educate Jews about booze,” said Rabbi Kaplan.  “I have found that Jews have not typically explored, or are familiar with, the wide variety of spirits that are out there, beyond vodka and, perhaps, Scotch.”  The second goal is to offer an in-depth textual exploration of topics that may not be frequently discussed in other Jewish educational settings.  And the final goal is to offer people an opportunity to financially contribute to the continued success of Rabbi Kaplan’s endeavors with both Southern California Jewish Student Services and Southern California Jewish Young Adult Enrichment.
Upcoming events in this year’s series are this month’s “Scotches & Separation” on Sunday, December 22, “Gin & Genocide” on February 9 and “Bourbon & Boundaries” on April 27.  For further details on these events, please visit http://socaljyae.org/tastings5774.

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