Purim is a festival which encourages drunkenness. We are told to drink so much
as to forget the phrase: “Blessed be Mordecai; cursed be Haman.”
year there are members of the religious community who take this too far, and the
result is sometimes scenes of embarrassing drunkenness exhibited by people
unused to the power of alcohol.
Unfortunately the new young Israeli does
not need the excuse of Purim to drink too much. There are teenagers and young
adults every week getting in to fights at clubs. This invariably results in
violence.RELATED:Wine Talk: The pioneerWine Talk: Bordeaux is best
Furthermore, much of the violence within the family is alcohol
Slowly we are becoming a violent society.
One of the
curses is vodka. Israel has one of the highest consumptions of vodka in the
world. It is so cheap, anyone can afford it and there are a prolific number of
brands. Drunk in shot glasses, it can give the alcohol rush youngsters seek.
Drunk with a mixer, it is easy to gulp it down fast, because you taste the mixer
and not the alcohol.
The result of drinking in either fashion is the
same. People become drunk too quickly and then they can’t control their
Wine, on the other hand, is also an alcoholic beverage, but it
does not carry the stigma of spirits or the association with binge drinking that
beer has. You never glug wine or down it in one. Nor do you drink it. It is a
product that is sipped, over time, usually with friends. It is more often than
not drunk with a meal.
It is far lower in alcohol than vodka, has fewer
calories and is far less dangerous.
It aids digestion and is even
In France a bottle or carafe of wine is on the table
as a matter of course, in the same way that ketchup is on the table in Israel.
Children will start drinking wine diluted with water from the age of three. Far
from causing damage, the cultural association of wine with a meal sticks. Here
the wine culture is not inbred and so children don’t grow up with a respect for
So my plea this Purim is to enjoy wine instead of hard
At the bar, drink wine so the effect of the alcohol is more
gradual. A bottle of wine shared between four people will go a long
If in this country we drank more wine and less coffee it would be a
far more relaxed place. If our youngsters would drink more wine and less vodka
it would also be a far less violent place. There are all types of wine to suit
every taste. There are even low alcohol wines like Young Selected Carignano and
For those for whom straight wine is unfamiliar, an
alternative to wine is to enjoy a wine cocktail. Mixing ingredients with wine
was always done in ancient times.
Wines used to be drunk with fruit,
spices or honey, which were added to make them palatable.
The most common
wine cocktail is Kir Royale, which is often served at weddings to disguise a
cheap sparkling wine.
It is named after Canon Felix Kir, mayor of Dijon
in France, who used this for formal dinners. A straight Kir is the same idea,
but using a simple white wine instead of the sparkling wine. A touch of Crème de
Cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur, in a flute glass topped up with an Israeli
sparkling wine like Selected or Tabor is an option.
A spritzer is frowned
upon by wine snobs as something drunk by our grandparents in the 1960s. In those
days a spritzer was made using Carmel hock, then the biggest selling white
Don’t knock it, it is a great drink, and is very refreshing and not
expensive. All you need is a simple bottle of cold white wine, soda water and a
long glass. A bottle of wine in a bar between friends will go a long way if
drunk in this way. It is a perfect summer drink.
One of my favorite
drinks is Bucks Fizz, which if made correctly has to be made with freshly
squeezed orange juice and champagne served in a flute glass.
This is one
of the finest of all drinks! An alternative using sparkling wine is a Mimosa in
which a small amount of Triple Sec liqueur is added to a sparkling wine like
Private Collection Brut or Gamla Brut, and orange juice.
For a party,
leave the spirit bottles out of it and instead make a sangria. This is a red
wine punch that originated in Spain, but it is also well-known in South America.
All you need is a young, dry inexpensive red wine like Vino or Domaine, both
available in supermarkets. Add chopped or sliced fruit and a sweetener which may
be in the form of honey, a syrup or fruit nectar.
It needs a little
brandy to give it a kick – Extra Fine, 777 or Stock 84 will suffice – and
cinnamon for spice.
For colder evenings, a mulled wine is a great idea.
It is a basically a red wine with spices, served warm. Again, the simplest red
wine will suffice. Add cloves, cinnamon and a little water. A kiddush wine could
be used in moderation to provide sweetness. This is a popular drink in England
during the cold winter months.
Wine culture starts in the home, around a
table, but wine itself can be used in so many different ways. I am sure that if
wine consumption increased, society would benefit as a result.Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and regularly writes on wine in Israeli and international publications. email@example.com