March 29, 2012
Drinking with the Booksteins
Rabbi Yonah Bookstein and his wife Rachel stopped by our house last week bearing two perfect pre-Passover gifts.
The first was a bottle of Shirah Wines 2009 Power to the People, a Syrah blend from Santa Barbara county grapes that The New York Jewish Week picked, out of 200 wines, as the Best Kosher Wine at its tasting this year.
It was exceptional. It made me not want to stop drinking it, ever.
The second bottle was even more special.
The Booksteins spent several years in Poland helping revitalize the Jewish community there. We started talking about how Israel feels like a “homeland,” but Poland just feels like home. The food, the people—it all feels so familiar to us Ashkenazi Jews who are, at the end of the day, only a couple generations removed. Of course I was going on about the vodka and slivovitz, and that’s when Rabbi Yonah reached into his magic bag and pulled out Mosby—an artisinal kosher slivovitz produced for the first time this year under his rabbinical supervision.
We toasted with it and oh….my….God.
Forget the tongue-searing stuff they put out in shul after services. Forget the swill your relatives let you sip that made you want to vomit. Mosby is made from wild plums collected in Medoc County, CA. It is distilled by people with drinking in mind. It is smooth, deeply flavorful ( I mean, strong and alcoholic—this isn’t plum wine, it’s plum grappa). I’ve poured some glasses for people who won’t touch grappa or slivovitz—they made all gone.
It’s expensive—around 50 bucks a bottle (like the Shirah Wine). It’s hard to get. (See below). But after a long good dinner, it’s nice to have around.
Below is a press release I just received from Rabbi Bookstein about Mosby. The smiling rabbi in the hat on the label? That’s Yonah Bookstein. Probably after a glass or two.