Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight days and nights, celebrating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during a period of unrest and rebellion around 160 BC.
Hanukkah involves many rituals: latkes, doughnuts, and pretty much anything else fried in oil. Foods fried in oil are typically served during Hanukkah because they are a reminder of the oil that miraculously kept the Temple menorah alight for eight days. Because most of the food is so rich, lighter wines with crisp acidity often work well to cleanse the palate and keep the meal from feeling too heavy. We offer some of our favorite pairings with these traditional dishes below. Happy Hanukkah!
Classic Latkes: These delicious golden potato pancakes prove that there are few things that are not improved by a hot oil bath. Pair them with a high-acid wine to cut through the oily texture and rich flavor, like a sparkling wine or sauvignon blanc.
Gingered Sweet Potato Latkes: A lot is going on in this dish–richness, sweetness, and spice–so the wine pairing can be tricky.
Red Wine Braised Beef Brisket: Choose a wine you like on its own to cook the brisket in, and then use that same wine, or a similar one, to serve with the dish. Bold, fruity cabernet sauvignons or zinfandels won’t lead you astray.
Sufganiyot: These deep-fried doughnuts, often filled with jelly or custard, are rich, sweet, and just the right way to end a meal (or start it!). It’s best to pair desserts with wines that are as sweet or sweeter than the dessert. Sweetness in food decreases perceived sweetness in wine, so that a fruity sauvignon blanc may seem harsh and bitter with dessert.