Archive for March 4th, 2012

Maine Moonshine

In preparation for upcoming Purim festivities, I made my own schnapps this year (it’s hard to find liqueur with kosher certification in Maine).  I bought Everclear Grain Alcohol (190 proof!), made a simple syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part water, boiled until all sugar is dissolved), and made two different flavors:  coffee mocha (I used very strong fresh-brewed Starbucks coffee and pareve chocolate), and limoncello (an apertif served in Italy; I used Meyer lemons).  Both came out great – they’re potent, smooth and delicious after fermenting for a couple of weeks.  But now a new dilemma:  nothing to serve them in!  I bought souvenir glass shot glasses with a moose design on them, but then I realized I had no way to toivel the glasses (immerse them in a mikva before their first use).  Usually I use one of the many natural lakes and ponds in my area to immerse new dishes, silverware, etc., but currently all nearby bodies of water are frozen solid with many inches of ice, and I lack the special augers used by ice fisherman to cut an opening in the ice to access the water.

[Which got me to thinking:  we’ve all heard stories about our great-grandmothers cutting through the winter ice in Poland and Russia when they didn’t live near a mikva.  Assuming these stories are really true, you have to admire their mesiras nefesh (someone who goes out of their way to perform a mitzva despite challenging circumstances).    It’s one thing to hear about it, but living in Maine and experiencing the rough winter conditions first-hand, one really appreciates how fortunate we are today that using a mikva is a safe, clean, and warm experience.  I can only marvel at how the heck women back then managed to keep this mitzva despite the inherent dangers of freezing cold, ice, darkness, and drowning.]