Which Alcoholic Drinks Are Kosher For Passover?

Science and Health

Some of the most popular alcoholic beverages are forbidden on Passover. Beer, whiskey and bourbon are all made from fermented grains, which is the very definition of hametz, leavened products forbidden from consumption on Passover. However many other alcoholic drinks are made by fermenting other things and can, at least in theory, be made kosher for Passover. As with all processed foods, those who eat only kosher certified products will want to look for a Passover certification symbol, even if none of their ingredients are hametz. 


Wine is made from fermented grapes and as such poses no issue for consumption on Passover. Indeed, the consumption of four cups of wine is one of the core rituals of the Passover seder. Virtually all kosher wines carry an additional certification identifying them as suitable for drinking on Passover, but there are rare exceptions in cases where the wine is flavored with a non-Passover-approved product or it comes into contact with a leavening agent. As a result, some Jews are careful to only purchase wine that is specifically certified for Passover use. 


Vodka can be produced from any number of sources, but is most commonly made from wheat, rye or corn (the first two being hametz and the last forbidden by many Ashkenazi Jews because it falls into the category of kitniyot.) But vodka can also be made from non-hametz ingredients, including potato, sugar cane and fruit. A number of distilleries now produce kosher-for-Passover vodka, which is widely available in kosher retailers. 


Gin is a flavored vodka, most commonly by juniper berries, which are a fruit and are therefore not hametz. Though more limited than vodka, there are now a small number of kosher-or-Passover gins available for purchase. 


Tequila is a Mexican distilled liquor made from blue agave, a succulent plant native to a handful of Mexican states. A large number of tequila varieties are now certified kosher for Passover including, as of 2018, two varieties produced by the popular Mexican distillery Patron.


Brandy is a liquor made from distilled fruit wine. Though it can be made from any fruit, it is often produced from grape wine. Brandies that are not produced from grape wine are specifically labeled. As such, brandies can be made kosher for Passover. Among the best-known is Slivovitz, a plum brandy still popular among Ashkenazi Jews. 


Rum is produced from fermented sugarcane and as such is kosher for Passover. 

Hard Cider

Hard cider is made from fermented apple juice. As all fruits are kosher for Passover, so is hard cider, however in practice it’s difficult to find varieties that are certified as such. 

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